Adam Schiff drops endorsement of Jackie Lacey in LA County district attorney’s race

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LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., has withdrawn his endorsement of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey ahead of a contentious November election where she will seek a third term in office.

In a tweet Saturday morning, Schiff seemed to acknowledge that recent protests and calls for criminal justice reform after George Floyd’s death in police custody had influenced his decision.

“This is a rare time in our nation’s history,” Schiff wrote. “We have a responsibility to make profound changes to end systemic racism & reform criminal justice.”

Lacey’s campaign staff confirmed Saturday that Schiff had contacted them to let them know he was withdrawing his support.

Lacey later issued a statement, saying she stands by her record.

“As the first African American woman to hold the LA County D.A.’s office, I am proud of my record of taking on systemic racism and reforming criminal justice — from bail reform, to reducing juvenile cases by nearly 50%, to increasing our office’s focus on mental health treatment instead of incarceration,” she said. “I am singularly focused on doing the work of the people of L.A. County during this time of crisis.”

Lacey is trying to fend off a challenge from former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, who is seen as part of a nationwide effort to elect progressive prosecutors. Lacey won 48% of all ballots cast in a March primary against Gascon and former public defender Rachel Rossi, but fell short of the majority she needed to avoid a runoff.

Schiff revoked his endorsement of Lacey just hours before Gascon picked up a nod of approval from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a progressive darling and former presidential candidate. In a tweet, Warren said Gascon “has been a national leader in criminal justice reform and a powerful advocate for rethinking our approach to public safety and ending mass incarceration.”

Later on Saturday, about 100 protesters descended on Lacey’s Granada Hills home to demand she charge the LAPD officers who shot and killed Alex Flores and Daniel Hernandez in late 2019 and April 2020, respectively.

Body-worn camera footage from the scene of Flores’ shooting shows he ran toward officers while holding a knife last year, and authorities have said Hernandez had a firearm, though footage from his killing has not been released. Prosecutors have not made a decision about either case.

Relatives of both men led a protest to Lacey’s doorstep Saturday afternoon, calling for her to be voted out of office in November.

“Jackie Lacey doesn’t do anything,” screamed Hernandez’s sister, Mariana Vegara. “She is funded by the police union.”

Lacey has collected a raft of endorsements from powerful politicians during her reelection bid, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and four of the five members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. But many of those endorsements were issued before Lacey faced serious opposition. Some consultants believe nationwide protests against police use-of-force have made Lacey vulnerable, given that she has repeatedly refused to prosecute police officers involved in controversial shootings during her two terms in office.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also appeared to walk back his endorsement of Lacey in recent weeks, noting “it may be” time for a change in the district attorney’s office during an interview with the Appeal last week. A spokesman for Garcetti has not responded to a request from the Los Angeles Times to clarify his position on Lacey.


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