DA Gascón drops charges against Hawthorne man accused of train-wrecking attempt at protest

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Emanuel Padilla is arrested after a protest outside Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s home in La Habra Heights on Nov. 18, 2020. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Emanuel Padilla is arrested after a protest outside Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s home in La Habra Heights on Nov. 18, 2020. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday dropped all charges against a protestor accused of attempting to wreck a train at the scene of a demonstration against the Sheriff’s Department.

Attorneys for the protester — Emanuel Padilla, a 34-year-old toy designer from Hawthorne — had claimed that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office under former head Jackie Lacey had trumped up the charges and that the department was retaliating for Padilla’s activism.

Gascón directed a prosecutor to dismiss all charges against Padilla, but the prosecutor refused, according to Max Szabo, a spokesman for Gascón’s transition team. A different deputy district attorney ultimately stood in during a brief dismissal hearing late Tuesday in the Compton courthouse, Szabo said.

Szabo declined to comment further on the prosecutor’s refusal to dismiss the charges, saying it was a personnel matter.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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