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Adam Schiff drops endorsement of Jackie Lacey in L.A. County district attorney’s race

Rep. Adam B. Schiff
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) has withdrawn his endorsement of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey in her reelection bid.
(Seema Mehta / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) has withdrawn his endorsement of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey ahead of a contentious November election, when she will seek a third term in office.

In a tweet Saturday morning, Schiff alluded to recent protests and calls for criminal-justice reform after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.

“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.”

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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Lacey’s campaign staff confirmed Saturday that Schiff had 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 running against former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who is part of a nationwide effort to elect progressive prosecutors. Lacey won 48% in a March primary against Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi, falling short of the majority she needed to avoid a runoff.

Schiff revoked his endorsement of Lacey just hours before Gascón picked up a nod of approval from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a progressive favorite.

In a tweet, Warren said Gascón “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 gathered outside Lacey’s Granada Hills home to demand that she charge the Los Angeles police officers who shot and killed Alex Flores and Daniel Hernandez in late 2019 and April 2020, respectively.

Body-camera footage from Flores’ shooting shows he ran toward officers while holding a knife last year. Hernandez was one of several people involved in a car accident in late April, and witnesses told police he was armed with a knife. Body-worn camera footage from the scene shows an officer shoot Hernandez multiple times as he advances toward her, and cell phone footage from the scene appears to show Hernandez was armed.

Prosecutors have not made a decision about either case. Relatives of both men led the protest at Lacey’s home, calling for her to be voted out in November.

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

Lacey has collected endorsements from powerful politicians including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and four of the five members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. But many endorsements came before Lacey faced serious opposition.

Some consultants say 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.

L.A.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 Times to clarify his position on Lacey.


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