LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey states in new court papers that she did not know her late husband planned to point a gun at Black Lives Matter demonstrators outside the family home in 2020.
The confrontation occurred when members of the group showed up at the couple's Granada Hills home early on the morning of March 2, 2020. Melina Abdullah, Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks brought the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint against the county's former top prosecutor and her spouse, David Lacey, in October of that year, claiming they suffered emotional distress from the incident.
What You Need To Know
- The suit alleges negligence and false imprisonment by Lacey, whose husband died Sept. 5
- During the Jan. 29, 2020 LA County District Attorney election debate, a protester tried to rush the stage while Lacey was there with her husband, she said
- Lacey is the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the top post since the office was created in 1850
- The encounter occurred a day before Lacey was forced into a runoff with former San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, who ultimately was elected
The suit alleges negligence and false imprisonment by Lacey, whose husband died Sept. 5.
"I did not expect him (David Lacey) to pull a gun at protesters," Lacey says in a sworn declaration filed Thursday in support of an upcoming hearing on her motion to dismiss the case. "I did not encourage him to do so, nor did I assist him in any way. I did not point a gun at anyone."
Lacey says the incident occurred on the morning of the day before the 2020 primary election and that she was awakened by loud noises outside her home. She says she remained upstairs.
"It was still dark outside when I woke up," Lacey says. "I did not know who was making the loud noises. My husband ... went downstairs while I stayed upstairs. He did not tell me where he was going or what he was going to do."
David Lacey came back upstairs later and told her there were protesters outside their home and that he had he pulled his gun and asked them to leave, according to Lacey.
She further says that as the March 2020 primary election neared, the protests escalated.
"I felt that my safety was being threatened," Lacey says.
During the Jan. 29, 2020 Los Angeles County District Attorney election debate, a protester tried to rush the stage while Lacey was there with her husband, she said. David Lacey tried to stop the protester, who was ejected by the police, according to Lacey.
For several years, protesters, including members of Black Lives Matter, gathered sometimes in the hundreds outside the Hall of Justice, where Lacey's office was located, every Wednesday to protest against Lacey, she says, adding they came with signs, noise-amplifiers and drums and chanted slogans such as, "Bye, Jackie" and "Jackie Lacey Must Go," Lacey says.
In their court papers, Lacey's attorneys state that all of the plaintiffs admitted in their depositions that Lacey was not involved in the gun incident on her front porch and that they never saw her or heard her say anything. A hearing on Lacey's dismissal motion is scheduled Dec. 20 before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa M. Traber.
Plaintiff Abdullah is a professor and former chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State Los Angeles and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter. She and other BLM demonstrators went to the Laceys' home seeking to confront her for allegedly refusing to meet with them to discuss issues of community concern.
In her deposition, portions of which are attached to Lacey's court papers, Abdullah says that "everyone was stunned" after David Lacey pointed the weapon at them.
"So, I don't recall what everyone else was doing," Abdullah says. "I only recall some of what I was doing. But having a gun pulled on me and told that 'I'll shoot you, I don't care who you are,' kind of threw off my energy."
Abdullah further says she regrets that Lacey "chose to be mentored by (former District Attorney) Steve Cooley rather than someone who cares about her people."
Lacey was criticized by Abdullah and other activists for declining to prosecute some law enforcement officers involved in fatal on-duty shootings during her two terms in office.
David Lacey opened the door after the plaintiffs rang the bell and video images show him pointing a gun and saying he would shoot if the visitors did not get off his porch.
The encounter occurred a day before Lacey — the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the top post since the office was created in 1850 — was forced into a runoff with former San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, who ultimately was elected.
David Lacey was charged by the California Attorney General's Office with three misdemeanor counts of assault with a firearm, but in May 2021 San Fernando Superior Court Judge David Stuart allowed him to enter an 18-month diversion program to resolve the case, noting that he was a "67-year-old man who has led an otherwise exemplary, productive life."
The judge also noted that there was a "unique politically charged situation that's unlikely to recur again."
The misdemeanor case was dismissed against David Lacey in May.