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Letters to the Editor: George Gascón’s critics are shamefully politicizing the El Monte tragedy

A memorial for two slain police officers outside the El Monte Police Department headquarters on June 16
Flowers, flags and balloons are left outside the El Monte Police Department headquarters in memory of two officers who were killed while answering a domestic violence call.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: I do not blame Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón for the killing of the two El Monte police officers. The district attorney was nowhere near the scene when the killings occurred.

While I feel horrible for these police officers and their families, I worry about how quickly we seek to politicize the situation and attribute fault to what appear to be good-faith efforts to reform our criminal justice system. No criminal justice policies can prevent all crime, and we must be wary of partisan efforts to politicize these situations.

Crime is also increasing in communities with conservative prosecutors. Our current system is just not working, and simply exclaiming that all folks who come in contact with it should somehow be restrained or warehoused away, does not work. That is what we have been doing throughout the last few decades, and it has not worked.

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While I certainly blame the person who pulled the trigger, I also blame the pervasive poverty in our communities and the lack of resources to help those struggling to make a living or deal with mental health issues.

Daniel Luna, West Covina

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To the editor: Justin Flores, the man who killed two cops in El Monte, was arrested in 2020 and charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and methamphetamine. He was “sentenced” to 20 days in jail and two years’ probation.

If we are not going to get tough with felons when they are arrested with guns and meth, then how can we be serious about curbing violence in society?

David Waldowski, Laguna Woods

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To the editor: This article’s click-bait headline is so disappointing. Gascón’s critics would have put Justin Flores away for longer than Gascón, but the article admits Flores might have still been released in time to commit this shooting.

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Our prisons are full, they are ineffective at deterring crime, and they cost the taxpayers more than $100,000 per prisoner per year, money that could be better invested in programs that have actually proven to deter crime. The question Gascón has been asking is what actually increases public safety.

Why wasn’t your article titled, “Gascón’s critics pounce on lesser sentence for cop-killer when there is no evidence longer sentence would have prevented crime”?

Merete Rietveld, Los Angeles

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