Former Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief seeks to unseat current Los Angeles County Attorney General Jackie Lacey.

After living ten years in San Francisco where he was chief of police, prosecutor and earned a national reputation as a visionary for criminal reform, George Gascón returns to Los Angeles where he lived 40 years and seeks to be a county prosecutor with his sights set in reducing imprisonment and the number of minors tried as adults.

To achieve this, he will have to defeat the current Los Angeles County Attorney, Jackie Lacey.

To win, Gascón bets on work done in San Francisco where it managed to reduce imprisonment rates and crime.

"We reduced overpopulation from 180 to 120%," said Gascon, co-author of Proposition 47, which reduced incarceration for non-violent or serious crimes.

George Gascón, co-author of Proposition 47, is campaigning to be a Los Angeles County prosecutor. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Instead, he emphasized that under the mandate of Attorney General Lacey, 22 people have been sentenced to death, while many 16 and 17 year olds have been sentenced as adults.

"If I were a Los Angeles county attorney, I would immediately stop the death penalty, ”he emphasized. “I would never ask for it, and look for constitutional resources to change it for imprisonment"

In the middle of the campaign by the Los Angeles County Prosecutor’s Office, Gascón met with the newspaper’s Editorial Board The opinion, and said that between him and current Attorney General Lacey, there are two different visions. While Lacey is in favor of criminalization, imprisonment and the death penalty, he is the godfather of progressive prosecutors.

"Prisons are a crime university," he emphasized.

George Gascón met with the editorial director of La Opinión, Gabriel Lerner and other executives and editors of the newspaper. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

As for the use of drugs, he added that as a prosecutor, he would treat his employment as a mental health problem not to criminalize them.

“The use of drugs is even in all economic classes and races. The difference is that while the rich use them in the privacy of their home, the poor go to the street; and immediately criminalize him with up to 25 years in jail. This is an immoral and hypocritical system, ”he says.

Asked about whether he would be in favor of prosecuting police officers accused of excessive use of lethal force, he said that current laws give them a lot of authority to use it.

However, he emphasized that of the 58 prosecutors in California, he was the only prosecutor who supported a proposal to change those laws. "We need to create an independent office to investigate the police," he said.

George Gascón returns to Los Angeles, and wants to be a county attorney. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Just a few months ago he returned from San Francisco, where he remained a decade, to return to his roots where he grew up and formed.

"We live in a historical moment in which we need a different representation," he said.

And asked Latinos who do not support him for being Latino but for what he represents. My experience is that of an immigrant with linguistic ability – he speaks Spanish and English – I have a great passion for justice not only for Latinos but for other groups, ”he said.

"If you want to change the level of abuse, abuse and imprisonment, I ask for your support," he said. He also recognized that it is the product of an evolution and continuing education.

On the treatment he would give to immigrants, his plans are to create a team of immigration attorneys in the County Attorney's Office, and give them protections so that they have the least possible risks of falling into the hands of migration.

George Gascón opposes the death penalty. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

An immigrant past

Gascón was born in Cuba, but at age 13 he emigrated with his parents to the United States. He grew up in Cudahy in a family with limited resources.

At age 18 he joined the Army and graduated from high school within the armed forces. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach history, he got a job as a patrol car in the Hollywood division of the Los Angeles Police Department. In the LAPD he became deputy chief under the leadership of Bill Bratton. He was in charge of the supervision of more than 9,000 officers. He has a doctorate in law from Western State University.

In 2006 he was recruited to be chief of the Mesa, Arizona Police Department where he faced several times against sheriff Joe Arpaio who at that time was very popular.

In 2009, the then mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom appointed him chief of the police of that city. And in 2011, Newsom made him a San Francisco prosecutor.

He has the support of former Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, and L.A. County Young Democrats. and organizations such as Colors of Chage, LA Voices and CHIRLA, among others.

The primary election to elect the Los Angeles County Attorney is Tuesday, March 3. If neither of the two candidates with the highest number of votes gets more than 50% of the vote, will go to a second round in the general election of November 3.


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