Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Recap: LA County DA Debate Was Contentious -- And Disrupted

From left to right: DA Jackie Lacey, George Gascon and Rachel Rossi. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times © 2020)
Our June member drive is live: protect this resource!
Right now, we need your help during our short June member drive to keep the local news you read here every day going. This has been a challenging year, but with your help, we can get one step closer to closing our budget gap. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership.

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."

Jerome Kitchen, 31, of Los Angeles, who is against DA Jackie Lacey being reelected, interrupted the debate. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

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.

Support for LAist comes from

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.


Most Read