Recap: LA County DA Debate Was Contentious -- And Disrupted
On Wednesday night the three candidates running for Los Angeles County District Attorney faced off in a debate: incumbent DA Jackie Lacey, former San Francisco DA George Gascon, and former federal public defender Rachel Rossi.
It was a raucous night, with Black Lives Matter activists, relatives of people shot by police and others frequently disrupting the proceedings with chants of "Jackie Lacey must go," while her supporters -- many of them deputy D.A.'s -- called back, "We love you, Jackie."
But as co-moderator Libby Denkmann, KPCC's politics reporter, pointed out to the crowd, this was the first time all three candidates had appeared together on stage. The evening offered voters a chance to hear from the candidates on record in a race that has garnered national attention, as this is the latest — and largest — battleground in a national push to get reformist DA's elected.
So what were some of the main takeaways?
- Gascon and Rossi leaned into the need to tackle systemic racism in the criminal justice system, while Lacey tried to straddle more of a middle ground.
- Lacey tried to paint Gascon and Rossi as unqualified, in particular noting that Gascon had never worked as a litigator and calling his tenure as San Francisco DA a failure.
- While Rossi and Gascon both said they will end cash bail, Rossi criticized Gascon for not doing so during his nearly nine years as San Francisco DA.
- Gascon claimed Lacey hasn't invested nearly enough resources into diverting people with mental health issues away from jail.