The El Monte City Council on Tuesday, June 22, unanimously approved a vote of no confidence in Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon.
The 5-0 vote comes a week after two El Monte police officers were shot while responding to a report of stabbings at a motel in the city.
“We believe that DA .Gascon’s policy has been shown to be detrimental to public safety in El Monte and Los Angeles County, as well as detrimental to the goal we share, the rehabilitation of people from criminal activity,” the resolution reads. . It is imperative that the government work to protect those who live, work and visit the community, but “the high failure rate of DA Gascon’s policy of not holding people accountable for their criminal actions does not.”
Gascon, who was elected in 2020 for his progressive stance on criminal justice reform, has faced criticism for his policies, which critics say are too lenient on criminals.
“Revealingly, 98% of professional deputy district attorneys voted no confidence in the policies and leadership of the Gascon District Attorney,” El Monte said in a resolution.
Last week, Olga Garcia, the mother of one of the slain officers, Joseph Santana, was joined by law enforcement officials, deputies of the district attorney and widows of other slain officers outside the El Monte Police Department to express concern about Gascon’s policies that it led to. early release of Flores. Corporal Michael Paredes was also killed in the attack.
The man who killed two El Monte officers, 35-year-old Justin Flores, was shot and killed by police while trying to escape. He later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, officials said.
Flores has indeed had a criminal history, from a conviction for breaking into his grandparents’ home to steal a television set in 2011, to his 2021 no contest claim, to being a criminal with a firearm. After two other charges were dropped as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Flores was sentenced to 20 days in jail and two years of probation.
His conviction for being a criminal who possessed a firearm was technically his second strike, allowing prosecutors to seek a 32-month jail sentence.
Gascon, who is facing an ongoing recall campaign, said at a press conference on Tuesday that even if Flores’ latest case went to trial, he could have been released on bail during the El Monte shooting.
Flores had no history of violence and managed to stay out of the criminal justice system for nearly a decade before he announced his withdrawal from the contest in 2021.
Gascon himself is a former police officer. But he discouraged prosecutors from seeking harsher penalties for defendants for previous convictions and other special circumstances.
The El Monte City Council adjourned a special meeting on Tuesday evening in memory of the two slain officers.
In total, similar actions have been taken in at least 35 California cities, including Arcadia, Rosemead, Covina, Diamond Bar, Santa Clarita, San Dimas, Whittier, West Covina, Walnut, Norwalk, Lancaster, La Mirada, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates. , Pico Rivera, Redondo Beach, San Gabriel, Santa Fe Springs, Temple City and La Habra Heights.
Many of these cities cited the District Attorney’s policies—abolishing bail for misdemeanors and non-violent offenses, abolishing the death penalty in all cases, and abolishing harsher sentences—as reasons for Gascon’s lack of support. The votes are symbolic and do not directly affect the work of the District Attorney.
Gascon’s office has repeatedly defended his policies, saying they reflect the views of the voters who put him in office.