A news conference held by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to mark his first year in office ended with him defending his policies and comparing L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva to a pig.
Villanueva has been particularly critical of Gascón, supporting a recall effort and describing the district attorney’s time in office as “God awful.”
Villanueva referred to Proposition 47, which he said reduced many crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, as a big reason why.
“Then he comes into office and decides not to even prosecute the misdemeanors,” Villaneuva said. “So, you’re doubling down on a really bad idea and now we’re seeing the consequences of it.”
Villanueva brought up recent high-profile crimes, including a string of smash-and-grab robberies, that he says has people “afraid to come out of the house.”
But recently released crime statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department paint a complicated picture of Gascón’s policies.
Homicides are up 46% and car thefts are up 53% in Los Angeles compared with the same time frame through Nov. 27 of 2019.
Property crime however is down 6.6%, robberies are down 13.6%, and burglaries are down 7.7%, in the same time frames.
Traditionally, property crime numbers are more often linked to polices like Gascón’s, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It’s not a question of whether I assume responsibility or not. I readily would if I thought there was a correlation,” Gascón said Wednesday.
“The reality is that we go through these cycles, and we go through the cycles for a variety of reasons … In many ways we cannot prosecute our way out of social inequalities, income inequalities, the unhoused, the desperation that we have,” Gascón said.
While responding directly to the comments made by Villanueva, Gascón used a common law enforcement slur, although he says, unintentionally.
“My dad used to say that when you wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it,” Gascón said before clarifying, “and that’s not pig in terms of using the term as law enforcement.”
The Times reported that Villanueva did not respond to a request for comment about the remarks.