As we reported on Wednesday, George Gascón is projected to be the winner over incumbent Jackie Lacey in the intensely-contested race for Los Angeles County District Attorney, holding a 54% to 46% lead. Yesterday, D.A. Lacey conceded to Mr. Gascón in an emotional, gracious and thoughtful ten minute speech. Below is a link to the KTLA-5 News video of Ms. Lacey’s concession, and below that is Crime Story’s transcription of her remarks. D.A.-elect Gascon followed Ms. Lacey’s remarks with a press conference. We will follow this post with a post covering that press conference.
Thank you. I congratulate George Gascón and his team on their expected victory. There are still about 791,000 votes to count, but my consultants tell me that while I may close the gap between the two of us, I will not be able to make up enough based on the trending of the ballots to win this election. I am so thankful to God for giving me this incredible opportunity to serve the people of Los Angeles County. Do you know it was exactly eight years today, November 6, 2012, that I was elected?
I thank my family for the sacrifices they made in order for me to hold this job. To my mom, who constantly asked me, “Are you okay?” And who reminded me during this contentious life that no matter what happens, I made history. To my sister, who was my sounding board, and who said during our weekly phone calls, “I am proud of you.” To my daughter and son whose love reminded me that I was to them more than the district attorney. Thank you most of all to my hero, my husband, who stood by my side and who was willing to put his own life in danger in order to protect me. I thank my extended family and friends who supported me in this endeavor, and I thank my colleagues for having my back.
I thank my campaign team with special recognition to my campaign manager, Walter Koch. I’m grateful to my prosecutors and my investigators and my support staff for your dedication and sacrifices that you made for me and for the people of this county. You made our mission statement a reality. You protected the community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice, and you advocated strongly for victim’s rights. You are some of the most honorable people I have ever met, and it has been a privilege to work with you. Be proud of what you do for the residents. There is no justice in LA County, unless you perform your job.
Now, when listing the accomplishments that have been made over the last eight years, a great deal of credit goes to the employees of this office. During the past eight years, we have made life safer for minors and women who were sex trafficked. In 2012, we began focusing on those who profited by exploiting these vulnerable victims. We tripled the number of convictions and we were responsible for taking these ruthless predators off the streets. We valiantly fought for justice for the children of our county, like Gabriel Fernandez and Anthony Avalos, by creating the Complex Child Abuse Unit. We created a Conviction Review Unit to investigate the claims of wrongful convictions. We created a Sexual Assault Task Force to address sex crimes that were perpetrated by the powerful.
We started a movement here in LA County that quickly spread around the United States to get people with mental illness the care that they deserve and to prevent them from languishing unjustly in custody or homeless on the streets. We inspired the creation of the Office of Diversion and Reentry that focused on getting justice and all people who were homeless into housing. We responded to the inequity of cash bail by working with Senator Bob Hertzberg to pass SB 10. We helped LA County residents who were formerly in the justice system, improve their chances of getting housing and employment by dismissing 66,000 cannabis convictions and nearly a million warrants for old cases. We protected the undocumented immigrants by prosecuting criminals who preyed on them. We advocated against severe and adverse consequences for immigrants who committed minor offenses.
We invigorated the Environmental Crimes Unit, and among other things, we helped to improve the air quality for residents by prosecuting corporations who endangered our lives by transporting dangerous chemicals on our highways. We helped the Probation Department with their new responsibility of apprehending errant parolees. We valiantly responded to COVID-19 during the outbreak by helping to reduce the jail population by 6,000 prisoners in just a few short weeks. And I can list more, but those were the highlights.
Before I conclude, I would like to talk about the significance of the results of this election. In fighting to stay in office, we faced a tsunami of money. We were outspent by an unprecedented $5 million, but that is not the full story. The circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery gave breath to an in progress discussion around racism, policing, and criminal justice reform. These incidents were painful and exposed an issue that existed in this country for years, racism.
Our nation is going through a reckoning, and what happened in my election may one day be listed as a consequence of that. It may be said that one day, the results of this election is a result of our season of discontent and a demand to see a tsunami of change. And looking at how we go forward, we must commit ourselves to appreciating the humanity in each other. The failure to see the humanity in people is what causes us to stereotype a black man with sagging pants as a gang member, or to wrongfully assume that all law enforcement officers are abusive. That is so contrary to my Christian faith that teaches me that God created man in his own image. And it is contrary to our life experience that people are individuals and that you should not prejudge them by their skin color or their chosen occupation. Every successful effort at change must start with an agreement on these principles. We must work together to make the system better for everyone without demonizing people.
It has been an honor to serve you, and I wish you well. I will not be taking any questions at this time. Enough has already been said. I will work with my successor to ensure that there is an orderly transition of leadership in my office. It is time for us as a nation to reconcile and to begin the healing process together. Thank you. Okay.