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Organizers working to oust Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor said they are on pace to collect the number of signatures required to put a recall question to voters on November’s ballot
As of April 13, the Recall District Attorney George Gascon campaign has collected around 300,000 of the 567,000 signatures it needs, organizers told Fox News.
The group still has 72 days left to reach its threshold.
“Our numbers are always a week or so behind because we’re waiting for batches to come in from multiple sources and before they turn them in, they do their own verification,” recall spokesman Tim Lineberger told Fox News. “Overall, I do think we’re in good shape to qualify this. We just have to keep the pedal to the floor.”
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In total, organizers need to collect 566,857 signatures – 10% of registered voters in the county – by the July 6 deadline.
The recall effort is the second since Gascon took office in December 2020. The first failed, but the current attempt has gathered steam amid a series of high-profile cases tied to Gascon’s progressive directives and public criticism from crime victims, elected officials and his own prosecutors.
After riding a wave of progressive candidates campaigning to head some of the nation’s busiest DA offices, Gascon ousted his predecessor, Jackie Lacey, and immediately issued a series of directives that have come under heavy scrutiny.
Some include ordering his deputy district attorneys to stop seeking enhancement allegations, which can significantly extend prison sentences, not seeking the death penalty and barring prosecutors from charging juveniles as adults, even those accused of serious crimes.
The directive related to juveniles has since been modified after the case of Hannah Tubbs, a 26-year-old transgender woman who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl when she was just 17. Tubbs was sentenced to two years in a youth facility and was caught on a jailhouse phone call bragging about the light punishment.
Juvenile cases will now be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Gascon said in a statement announcing the change in February.
“While I remain committed to the core values of our policies, I have seen a small number of cases that presented real challenges,” he said at the time. “After her (Tubbs) sentencing in our case, I became aware of extremely troubling statements she made about her case, the resolution of it and the young girl that she harmed. If we knew about her disregard for the harm she caused we would have handled this case differently,”
As crime continues to be on the upswing in Los Angeles County, critics have pointed to the district attorney’s policies, saying they embolden criminals who no longer have to fear harsh punishments for even the most serious of offenses.
Audio recordings obtained by Fox News captured a convicted murderer saying he wanted to get Gascon’s name tattooed on his face because the prosecutor reduced the charges in his case.
“I’m going to get that n—–’s name on my face. That’s a champ right there. F—in’ Gascon,” gang member Luis Angel Hernandez said in a jailhouse phone call. The audio was first made public in an episode of “Tucker Carlson Originals” about Gascon called “Suicide of Los Angeles,” which is now streaming on Fox Nation.
Meanwhile, crime continues to plague the region and remains a top concern for many.
In Los Angeles, 34 people were shot last week during outbursts of violence, mostly between gangs. More than a dozen gangs have now begun targeting wealthy enclaves in the city and robbing residents of expensive items. In addition, thieves have taken to following their victims home from various locations in so-called “follow-home” robberies.
Alex Bastian, special advisor to Gascon, told Fox News Digital last week that the DAs office is taking the follow-home robberies “very seriously.”
“These robberies are disturbing and dangerous and our office takes them very seriously,” Bastian said in a statement. “We are working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to help them make arrests and working diligently so that people that are arrested are subsequently prosecuted and held accountable.”
Lineberger disagrees with those who say that crime data doesn’t show a correlation between Gascon’s policies and the uptick in violence.
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“It’s inherently obvious that when you tell criminals it’s open season on the citizens of Los Angeles and you’re not going to be held accountable, there is a direct reaction and the results are playing out as you’re seeing them,” he said. “It’s why you see the guy saying he’s going tattoo Gascon’s name on his head.”