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Husband of former Los Angeles County D.A. Jackie Lacey avoids jail in gun case

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey kisses her husband, David, in a courtroom
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey kisses her husband, David, before ending her bid for a third term in office in November 2020.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Thursday allowed the husband of former Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to enter into a diversion program to resolve charges that he aimed a gun at three unarmed protesters outside his home last year.

David Lacey, 67, was charged with three counts of assault last August, about five months after he opened the door to his family’s Granada Hills home with a handgun aimed at the demonstrators, who rang his doorbell as part of a predawn protest against his wife.

Under the terms of the agreement approved by Superior Court Judge David Stuart, which was first reported by The Times last month, the criminal case against Lacey will be dismissed after he performs 100 hours of community service and attends anger management and gun safety classes. He also is barred from possessing a firearm for the duration of the agreement, which lasts 18months.

“We have a 67-year-old man who has otherwise led an exemplary and productive life,” said Stuart, adding that diversion was appropriate because Lacey has no criminal record and his alleged offense stemmed from a “unique, politically-charged situation that is unlikely to occur again.”

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If Lacey had been convicted, each assault count carried a maximum of one year in county jail. The state attorney general’s office handled the case since Jackie Lacey was serving as L.A. County’s top prosecutor at the time of the incident.

Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and one of the people held at gunpoint by Lacey last year, has previously decried the arrangement as too lenient and called on the judge to bar Lacey from possessing firearms.

She has also said Lacey was being handled with “kid gloves” and argued a defendant without his political connections might have faced felony charges.

“It means that my life, the threat that he posed to my life, doesn’t mean anything,” she said.

While he did not believe his client did anything wrong, Lacey’s defense attorney, Samuel Tyre, said the diversion agreement allowed his client to avoid the “risk of a jury disagreeing with our position.”

“He’s never been as much as arrested before this case,” Tyre said. “This is an absolutely appropriate and fair disposition.”

Abdullah’s attorney, Carl Douglas, said Thursday he was relieved Lacey would not regain possession of his weapon anytime soon.

“It would have been unthinkable if he were allowed to possess a firearm for the probationary period, so I am pleased to learn that Judge Stuart has balanced the equities in favor of the community’s safety,” Douglas said.

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Last March, Abdullah was leading a group of about 30 protesters angry about Jackie Lacey’s repeated failure to meet with Black activists who had challenged her record of rarely prosecuting law enforcement officers in the shooting deaths of unarmed men and women. The group was outside the Laceys’ Granada Hills, banging on drums and chanting before 6 a.m., when Abdullah, Justin Marks and Dahlia Ferlito approached the family’s front door.

Video taken at the scene shows David Lacey answering the door with a handgun pointed in the direction of the protesters.

“I will shoot you,” he says in response to a question from Abdullah, with his finger on the weapon’s trigger.

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Los Angeles police were soon called to the scene. Jackie Lacey held a news conference later in the day where she apologized for her husband’s actions but also noted the incident followed a series of threats made against her as she sought a third term in office.

One of the threats was serious enough that it was referred to the Long Beach Police Department for further investigation, but ultimately, no charges were filed.

The incident happened one day before the Democratic primary in a contentious district attorney’s race. Jackie Lacey was unable to hit the 50% plus one vote threshold she needed to win the primary outright and ended up losing to former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón in the general election last November.


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