Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday he is switching his endorsement in the L.A. County district attorney’s race and is now supporting George Gascón in his bid to unseat incumbent Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey as the head of the country’s largest prosecutor’s office.
Garcetti was among a number of Southern California politicians who threw their support behind Lacey’s bid for a third term early last year, before Gascón entered the race. But in the wake of nationwide protests calling for criminal justice reforms following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, some began to walk back their endorsements of Lacey, who has spent most of her second term under intense scrutiny for declining to prosecute officers in a number of controversial shootings of unarmed men.
Gascón, who was San Francisco’s district attorney for eight years and served in the Los Angeles Police Department for decades before that, did not prosecute any officers in a number of high-profile shootings in the Bay Area either. But Gascón’s record of using restorative justice programs rather than incarceration to deal with nonviolent offenders has made him attractive to progressive leaders, including U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
During a June interview, Garcetti said “it may be” time for a change in leadership in the district attorney’s office, but he has since declined to elaborate. In a statement issued Sunday, the mayor said he was proud to back a candidate who could improve public safety “through partnerships with and beyond law enforcement.”
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