Police officers act like they have a license to kill because Jackie Lacey functionally gave them one.
In 150 years, if humans are somehow lucky enough to still be alive and literate, they’ll look back on our criminal justice system the same way we might view medical care during the Civil War: brutal, ineffective, and needlessly cruel.
In Los Angeles, the ringleader of that carnival of horrors is District Attorney Jackie Lacey. As the DA of LA County, Lacey oversees the largest prosecutor’s office in the United States. According to estimates from the DA’s Office, they prosecute over 71,000 felonies every year.
Jackie Lacey has been in office since 2012. Over the past eight years, she’s managed more than half a million serious criminal cases. Of that staggering number, her office has brought criminal charges against law enforcement officials twice.
Two times. That’s 0.35% of cases over the better part of a decade.
During that same time, over 600 residents of LA county have been killed by police, according to Black Lives Matter — Los Angeles. The L.A. Times Homicide Report posits a figure of 329 people killed by law enforcement in that period. Astute readers will notice that 600 and 329 are both much higher numbers than two.
Over the past week, we’ve seen innumerable pieces of video and photographic evidence showing LAPD, LASD, and other law enforcement officials violently attacking peaceful protesters. Again: during Black Lives Matter protests specifically sparked by police brutality, the police seem physically unable to stop being brutal.
This is not a case of a few bad apples. This is systemic. They’re attacking people because they think they can get away with it. They’re terrorizing people because Jackie Lacey has proven, time and time again, that her office will provide no meaningful consequences for doing so.
My friend lives on Hollywood & Argyle. He just sent me a video of a pile of police taser-ing a woman. The police are now shooting rubber bullets at anyone who comes out over the overlook to stop filming of the incident. Police brutality needs to end. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/mwAT63RmhW— the other Patsy. (@likeasifpatrick) June 2, 2020
Now, to be fair, police officers could think they’ve earned this privilege. In fact, they might even think they’ve paid for it.
Lacey has raised $2.2 million in contributions to outside committees that benefit her re-election as DA (this is in addition to the more than $800,000 in her personal re-election committee).
Virtually all of that $2.2 million has come from law enforcement unions.
Some of those unions, of course, will benefit greatly from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget that calls for both raises to police officers and an additional $200 million in raises, bonuses, and overtime pay (while cutting essential city workers and services). This year, 54% of the Los Angeles unrestricted general fund revenue could go to police officers.
I wonder whom they’ll want to financially back in the DA’s race with all that extra money. George Gascon, the relatively moderate reform DA from San Francisco? Or Jackie Lacey who has proven, literally, she’s willing to let them get away with murder.
The LAPD thinks they can shoot at unarmed civilians because they bought and paid for a hunting license. If you’re shocked at the levels of violence you’re seeing from police officers during these protests, you’re not alone.
Black Lives Matter — Los Angeles has been organizing around getting Jackie Lacey out of office for years, holding weekly protests outside of the Hall of Justice every Wednesday at 3 PM.
Additionally, the People’s City Council Freedom Fund has raised over $2 million to support protesters, the National Lawyers Guild, and Black Lives Matter as a whole.
The next time you hear someone ask what the point of the LA protests is, you can tell them one of the most straightforward demands of organizers is the removal of Jackie Lacey from public office.