L.A. DA Gascón trying to hire Rodney King prosecutor to handle police misconduct cases

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San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon speaks during a new conference on Dec. 9, 2014. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon speaks during a new conference on Dec. 9, 2014. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón asked the Board of Supervisors on Friday for permission to hire a special prosecutor to oversee police misconduct investigations, following a campaign where he promised to reconsider filing charges in a number of controversial police shootings where his predecessor declined to prosecute officers.

Gascón will seek to hire Lawrence S. Middleton, a former federal prosecutor who won convictions against the officers who beat Rodney King and once headed the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Middleton would be hired “to assist the D.A. in investigating, providing recommendations, and prosecuting cases of police misconduct at the direction of the D.A.,” according to the letter issued Friday.

In a statement, Gascón said Middleton’s role would include reviewing a quartet of controversial officer-involved shootings that former Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey declined to prosecute during her eight years in office. The cases that Gascón promised to reexamine included the 2015 shooting of an unarmed homeless man, Brendon Glenn, by an LAPD officer, a case in which even former police chief Charlie Beck had called on Lacey to file charges.

“The independence of these investigations along with accountability where wrongdoing has occurred is essential to rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Gascón said in a statement. “Police cannot safely and effectively safeguard communities that do not trust them as the public will be less likely to report crimes.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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