Two El Monte police officers in Los Angeles County, Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana, were murdered in cold blood earlier this week by a gang member who should have been behind bars but instead was free to kill thanks to the so-called progressive criminal-justice polices in vogue in America’s cities, courtesy of woke legislators and prosecutors.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, having spent a combined nine years as San Francisco’s DA and police chief, moved to LA and was elected to serve as its DA in 2020, bringing his pro-criminal policies with him.
Much of the responsibility for the murders of Cpl. Paredes and Officer Santana rests on Gascón’s shoulders.
The cop-killer in question, Justin Flores, who was also killed in the shootout with the two officers, had served two prison terms for burglary and car theft and pleaded no contest to possessing a firearm as a felon last winter.
A day before the shooting, Flores’ probation officer filed for a revocation hearing after the suspect allegedly assaulted his girlfriend the week prior, violating his probation. Instead of waiting for the hearing behind bars, he was allowed to walk free according to Gascón’s policies.
Gascón’s pro-criminal policies are leading to more innocent people dying.
They’ve allowed a record number of violent gang members, rapists, domestic abusers and murderers to be let off with a slap on the wrist, including reduced sentences and generous parole options.
California’s metastasizing criminal class know that they can get away with their actions, or at worse get reduced sentences, wait it out, and get right back to where they left off. LA County in particular has become a playground for criminals who prey on ordinary taxpayers, and Gascón and soft-on-crime prosecutors like him openly signal to these predators that they won’t have to pay for their actions.
And the problem is not restricted to Gascón. Look at Chesa Boudin, who replaced Gascón as San Francisco’s district attorney in 2020, fought in court to eliminate money bail from the judicial system. In New York, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg basically promised to decriminalize shoplifting.
But perhaps the tide is finally turning. Boudin was removed in a recall election, and the voters of Orange County, Calif., soundly rejected another pro-criminal candidate for their DA in favor of tough-on-crime incumbent Todd Spitzer, who won more than 60% of the vote.
If George Gascón were not in office courtesy of LA County’s voters, these two slain police officers would have returned home to their wives and children. Instead, those women are now widows, and their children are fatherless.
Police officers always risk their lives when they put on the badge and go out on patrol, but they didn’t sign up to serve under a system that protects the criminals more than the victims or the peace officers. LA County has more residents than many US states, and they all deserve better.
Harmeet K. Dhillon is chairwoman of the Republican National Lawyers Association.