LOS ANGELES – Today, George Gascón declared victory in the nationally watched race to be Los Angeles County District Attorney. He made the announcement over Zoom from home alongside his wife, Fabiola Kramsky.
“Los Angeles County has voted decisively for a new vision for our criminal justice system, and I am incredibly honored to have earned the support of so many to be your next District Attorney,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney-elect George Gascón. “I returned to LA to be closer to my family, but after decades of working to modernize public safety institutions elsewhere, I entered this race because I felt my life’s work would be incomplete if I failed to bring reform to my hometown.
Many viewed this campaign and this movement for reform to be a long shot in the largest county in the nation, and I could not be happier that we proved them wrong. I am grateful that so many believed in this movement and in this moment, but ultimately this victory belongs to the countless community organizers that worked tirelessly, our thousands of volunteers, and every voter that joined this fight for a healthier, safer and more equitable system of justice.
I want those that supported my opponent to know that I will work incredibly hard to earn your trust and respect. Having voices at the table that disagree challenges me to be better, and it is critical to my ability to do this work in the most effective manner possible.
Finally, I want to applaud DA Lacey for her decades of service to Los Angeles, for the sacrifices she has made, and for the barriers she has breached. We may not agree on how best to enhance the health and safety of our neighborhoods, but there can be no doubt that she is deeply committed to this community.
This election is behind us, and the real work begins now.”
The Los Angeles Times has called this contest the second most important race in the nation after the presidency, and the New York Times called it one of the most consequential races in the nation. It is by all accounts the most expensive DA’s race in United States history and came as the nation faces a reckoning over systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
George Gascón entered the race as a first-time candidate in Los Angeles on October 28, 2019, facing a well-financed two-term incumbent in the largest county in America. In the March 3rd primary Gascón and a third candidate split the progressive vote, forcing DA Lacey into a runoff. Days after the primary the world and the campaign alike faced the daunting reality and uncertainty of a global pandemic. In spite of the unique challenges posed, Gascón’s campaign out fundraised DA Lacey in the general $928,131 to $617,018, with 8,250 total donors. Gascón received 7,479 contributions that were under $100. The campaign’s field team was buoyed by 2,226 volunteers who contacted a whopping 1,506,002 unique voters.
Mr. Gascón, along with the help of his policy committee, also released 11 policy papers covering everything from law enforcement accountability to behavioral health and its nexus to homelessness, youth justice, victims, environmental justice, immigration, the death penalty and alternatives to incarceration. Those position papers include commitments to:
- Immediately end juvenile transfers to adult court.
- End the use of the death penalty and work to resentence those condemned to death.
- Join efforts to hold oil and gas companies accountable for the harm they have caused to the environment.
- Create an alternative sentencing planner program.
- Implement neighborhood and behavioral health courts programs.
- Support parole, Clean Slate efforts, a fines and fees task force.
- Expand Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD).
- Institute restorative justice diversion programs.
- Work to implement a county-wide deadly force standard that allows lethal force to be used only when necessary and as a last resort, ensuring a strong implementation of Assembly Bill 392.
- Collaborate with law enforcement across the County to make police officer misconduct records accessible to all of the public, not only those who request them.
- Establish a County-wide “do not call” policy, including a registry of disreputable law enforcement officers.
- Establish County-wide standards for police body-worn cameras and in-car video systems that take into account the public’s trust, privacy concerns, and regulatory restraints.
- Create and lead a County-wide Police Sentinel Event Review Board.
- Create an Independent Investigations Bureau and hire and train attorney specialists to enhance its ability to investigate and review all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths and to investigate and review all other excessive use of force cases.
- Establish an Open Data Unit that will make data and information publicly available about police stops, arrests, uses of force, deaths in custody, homicides, hate crimes, law enforcement officers killed or injured in the line of duty, lawsuits, civilian complaints, and other key areas on the DA’s website.
- Make the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office’s policies and procedures public and call for all Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies to do the same.
- Advocate for changes to state law that would give the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) the authority to decertify law enforcement officers who have engaged in serious misconduct.
- Adopt a policy of no retaliatory charging of individuals or their family members for speaking out against the police.
- Adequately staff the District Attorney’s Wrongful Conviction Unit and build collaborations with local law schools, like Loyola Law School, that already have these programs to right injustices of the past.
- Ensure resolution parity for undocumented defendants.
- Expand the Los Angeles County Homeless Court Program and more fully integrate the District Attorney’s Office in a leadership role in the program.
- Implement a CONNECTion To Services Program (the CONNECT Program), that supports diversion to services and prioritize alternatives to enforcement, citation, or arrest for low-level quality of life crimes or life-sustaining activities.
- End the practice of body attachments.
- Contact victims of domestic violence within 24 hours of an incident to offer support and services.
- Advocate for victims of uncharged cases to have the Opportunity to read a victim impact statement at the sentencing of a serial sex offender.
- Develop a sexual assault response team.
- Demand every rape kit be tested.
- and much more.
In addition to the many planned policy changes, Mr. Gascón has also pledged to reopenat least four fatal officer-involved-shootings.
Mr. Gascón plans to announce a transition team in the days ahead. He will be sworn in as the 43rd District Attorney of Los Angeles County on December 7, 2020.
George Gascón is the District Attorney-elect for Los Angeles County. His historic campaign was endorsed by the Democratic Party, the LA Times and the LA Daily News, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, labor leader and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and former Chief of the LAPD Charlie Beck. Click here for a full list of his supporters.
Mr. Gascón grew up in Los Angeles after his family immigrated from Cuba. An army veteran, Gascón served as a Los Angeles Police Department Officer for 30 years, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Operations. In 2006 he became Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, where he stood up to the hateful and anti-immigrant policies of then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In 2009, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gascón Chief of Police. Newsom turned to Gascón again in 2011 when he tapped him to be District Attorney to fill the seat vacated by an outgoing Kamala Harris who had been elected Attorney General. During his tenure Gascón implemented reforms that are being duplicated across the country while overseeing violent crime and homicides drop to rates not seen in 50 years. After being elected to two terms, Gascón returned to Los Angeles to care for his elderly mother and to be closer to his two daughters and grandchildren in Long Beach. Gascón is married to Fabiola Kramsky, a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist and recipient of the “Premio Nacional de Periodismo,” the highest recognition given to journalists in Mexico.