LOS ANGELES — The recall of progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has supporters for the recall of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón chomping at the bits.
The ongoing campaign to recall Gascón received a major lift Tuesday when residents in San Francisco voted to oust Boudin for his soft crime policies amid surging violence and property crimes in the city. As of Wednesday morning, about 60% of voters favored recalling Boudin.
According to the Washington Post, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will appoint Boudin's replacement.
"Tonight [Tuesday] showed that voters from every community and every walk of life, regardless of political ideology, are rejecting pro-criminal policies that are masked as criminal justice reform," said Tim Lineberger, a spokesperson for the Recall DA George Gascon campaign. "George Gascón and Chesa Boudin's failed social experiments have destroyed communities while doing nothing to meaningfully reform the system. If LA County voters sign and return their recall petitions, Gascon will be walking the same plank in the very near future."
Gascón spokeswoman Elise Moore told Spectrum News that Gascón will continue his mission to reform Los Angeles' criminal justice system.
"Regardless of all the outcomes yesterday, D.A. George Gascòn is going to do what he promised to do-- fight to increase support for victims, hold the powerful and those who cause serious harm accountable, and make sure we have a justice system that doesn't needlessly incarcerate black and brown Angelenos," said Moore in an emailed statement.
Gascón was elected as the city's district attorney in 2020, defeating the incumbent Jackie Lacy.
Gascón ran on a progressive platform, promising criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration for some drug offenses and minor crimes during a time when the community was angry about the death of George Floyd.
Since taking office, he's kept some juveniles out of adult jails and identified nearly 60,000 cannabis convictions eligible for dismissal.
However, critics claim that since Gascón took office, crimes have risen, and violent criminals have received lower sentences.
"Gascon has deserted crime victims and their families" and weakened sentencing requirements for violent criminals, including murderers, armed robbers and rapists, a recall petition read.
“George Gascon’s new policies treat career and repeat violent offenders as if they had never committed a crime, ignoring public safety laws approved by the people,” the petition continues. “Gascon has reduced sentences on crimes against children, and gun crimes.”
Gascón told the LA Times in March the increase in crime is not a unique Los Angeles problem but happening nationwide. The unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation and public health, and mental health crisis are some of the factors in the uptick in crime, he said.
A recall of Gascón began just a few months after he took office in 2021. That first recall campaign failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for an election.
This time around, the Recall District Attorney George Gascón campaign, which began in January, has received more than 500,000 signatures.
The campaign needs to collect more than 566,000 signatures, which need to be verified by July 6 to qualify as a ballot in the November general election.
Lineberger told Spectrum News Wednesday they are aiming to gather more than 650,000 or 700,000 signatures to make sure they have enough verified signatures.
“This has nothing to do with politics but everything to do with public safety,” Lineberger said. “You’re seeing voters from every community reject these policies that are very pro-criminal and are masked as reform. People want criminal justice reform. That’s very clear. That’s why Gascón and Boudin were elected in the first place. But voters in both places realize they were sold a bill of goods.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original story was updated to include a statement from Gascón's spokeswoman. (June 8, 2022)