L.A. County’s new lead prosecutor isn’t wasting any time unrolling a new agenda. On Monday, George Gascon made national headlines with his new directive: His department will no longer prosecute certain crimes. The former San Francisco District Attorney and former LAPD officer said that many misdemeanor charges will now be dismissed out of hand, alleging that nearly half of those imprisoned on misdemeanor offenses suffer from various mental illnesses.
“Los Angeles County courts should not be revolving doors for those in need of treatment and services,” Gascon’s office said.
Starting on Tuesday, a whole host of offenses will now be immediately dismissed prior to arraignment: Trespassing, minor possession of alcohol, driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, disturbing the peace, drug possession, criminal threats, public intoxication, loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, and resisting arrest are now basically legal in the county of Los Angeles. Additionally, any juvenile accused of a misdemeanor will not face prosecution.
“Our prosecutorial approach should be biased towards keeping youth out of the juvenile justice system and when they must become involved, our system must employ the ‘lightest touch’ necessary in order to provide public safety,” Gascon said.
You’ll not be surprised to learn that the Los Angeles Police Protective League is unhappy with the new direction of the prosecutor’s office.
“As homicides, shooting victims and shots fired into occupied homes soar in Los Angeles, it’s disturbing that Gascon’s first act in office is to explore every avenue possible to release from jail those responsible for this bloodshed,” the union said in a statement. “These victims and law-abiding residents lost a voice today while criminals and gang members gained an ally in the prosecutor’s office.”
The extent to which Gascon has decriminalized crime may come as a bit of a shock to L.A. residents, but you can’t say that he hid his intentions. Upon his inauguration, Gascon made it clear that he does not believe in the heavy prosecution of criminals.
“For decades tough-on-crime advocates, the private prison industry, the bail industry and law enforcement unions — all organizations that profit off taking away your liberties — they sold us a false narrative that more police, stiffer penalties and more people locked up in prison made us safer,” he said in the speech.
Even the reliably liberal Los Angeles Times seemed skeptical of Gascon’s agenda.
“His focus on reducing incarceration rates could meet resistance at a time when violent crime is surging in the city,” they reported. “The city has recorded more than 300 homicides for the first time in over a decade this year, and shootings are up more than 30% compared with 2019, according to L.A. Police Department records.”
Thanks to people like Gascon, Antifa-friendly administrations like Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and insane city councils like the one presiding over Minneapolis, we seem to be entering into a new “non-enforcement” period of law enforcement. Guess we’ll soon find out who, exactly, was selling the “false narrative.”