During their weekly protest at the Hall of Justice, Black Lives Matter made it clear they’re prepared to hold George Gascón accountable.
“Jackie Lacey, you just lost your job!” shouted activist Minerva Garcia at this week’s protest-turned-celebration organized by Black Lives Matter (BLM) at the Hall of Justice. A crowd of around 200 people met Garcia’s declaration with cheers and applause.
Tuesday night, George Gascón beat Jackie Lacey for the office of District Attorney by nearly eight percentage points in Los Angeles County. Lacey’s ousting is largely the work of BLM, which has been holding protests every Wednesday for over three years against the now-former DA.
This week, the mood was celebratory but tearful. Friends and family of people murdered by police around Los Angeles shared how Lacey failed to bring their loved ones justice. Lacey — who took over $2.2 million from law enforcement unions during her eight years as DA — reviewed 258 cases of officer-involved shootings, but only ever charged one deputy with a crime.
“Justice was served at the ballot box yesterday,” said one BLM activist speaking on behalf of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, two Black men allegedly murdered by major Democratic donor Ed Buck. Lacey failed to prosecute the well-connected Buck despite substantial evidence he was injecting Black sex workers with deadly amounts of crystal meth in his West Hollywood apartment.
“Our persistence paid off — we have the power of the people on our side. We have put all our city officials on notice, and we will fire them,” said one organizer named Jan. “We have ended Jackie Lacey’s career.” The crowd erupted in cheers.
Although BLM rightfully celebrated their long-fought victory, activists emphasized they’re prepared to hold Gascón accountable from day one.
“There will be nobody more afraid their first day on the job than George Gascón,” said Albert Corado. Police killed Corado’s sister, Mely, after they fired into a crowded Trader Joe’s in an attempt to kill a fleeing suspect. Lacey did not bring charges against the officers.
Activist Evelia Granados said, “If Gascón doesn’t do his job, we’re coming for him too. He needs to sit down with us. He needs to listen to families and hear our demands.” Granados is the sister of Cesar Rodriguez, who police pushed into an oncoming train after Rodriguez couldn’t pay the $1.75 fare.
The crowd heard heartbreaking testimonies about how the DA’s office failed victims of police violence in Los Angeles. They served as a reminder Black Lives Matter is fighting against the culture of criminalization and incarceration the DA stands for, regardless of who is currently elected to its office.
Activist Helen Jones, pointing to the Hall of Justice, told the crowd, “We have to watch this building. We have to watch whoever comes into this building.”
Speakers’ visceral displays of grief toward a nearby line of police officers were a stark reminder the DA’s office is just one arm of the carceral state apparatus BLM is fighting.
Turning toward law enforcement, the sister of Daniel Hernandez yelled, “You cannot kill citizens because you’re afraid. You cannot be the judge, jury, and executioner.” Officer Toni McBride, the daughter of police union director Jamie McBride, shot Hernandez six times after he allegedly emerged from his vehicle holding a box cutter.
Garcia shouted toward the line of police, “We’re coming for your jobs, we’re coming for your pensions, and we’re reinvesting that money in our communities.”
These families, none of whom have found justice in LA’s cop-funded DA’s office, thanked BLM for welcoming them and for making their voices heard. Organizers emphasized that while the road to true abolition is long, this win demonstrates the people united have power to make real change.
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