A newly-elected Los Angeles district attorney is ending cash bail and vowed to stop the death penalty, despite rising trends in violent crime throughout the city.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who assumed office on Monday after defeating an 8-year incumbent, relinquished the practice of cash bail, seeks to put an end to capital punishment and would stop the practice of trying juveniles as adults, according to CNN. The DA’s move may result in the release of hundreds of inmates as early as Tuesday, CNN reported.
“I recognize that these are big changes, but they are changes that will enable us to actually affect the truly vulnerable,” Gascón said, according to CNN.
The city of Los Angeles has experienced 308 murders so far in 2020, compared to 239 in all of 2019, according to crime statistics. The rise in killings equates to a nearly 29% increase in homicides, the data showed.
LA is also in the midst of an approximately 36% increase in car theft and a 33% uptick in shooting victims compared to the previous year, according to the statistics.
Taken together these sweeping reforms are intended to permanently change the course of CA’s criminal justice system & end the era of mass incarceration in Los Angeles & beyond.
But stay tuned. There’s more to come.
— George Gascón (@GeorgeGascon) December 7, 2020
Gascón, who now presides over the most populous county in the U.S., referred to the cash bail system as “unsafe” and “unjust.”
“The money bail system is as unsafe as it is unjust,” Gascón said, according to CNN. “The rich can be dangerous while the poor impose zero threat to society. The amount of money a person has in their bank account does not determine the danger they pose to their community.”
Los Angeles Police Protective League, a law enforcement union, said the new DA’s move makes him an “ally” for “criminals and gang members.”
“As homicides, shooting victims, and shots fired into occupied homes soar in Los Angeles, it’s disturbing that Gascón’s first act in office is to explore every avenue possible to release from jail those responsible for this bloodshed,” the group told CNN in a statement.
“Victims and law-abiding residents lost a voice today while criminals and gang members gained an ally in the prosecutor’s office.”
Gascón also plans to re-open officer-involved shooting investigations stemming as far back as 2012, according to CNN. The DA will convene a “Use of Force Review Board,” made up of community members and attorneys, to assess possible penalties.
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