Former LAPD chief rescinds support of Los Angeles DA George Gascon; should ‘emphasize the rights of victims’

on Feb11
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Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who sought to gradually reform LAPD policy and the department’s culture during his tenure, announced Friday the rescission of his support from Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, who is facing a second recall attempt over prosecutorial policies critics have labeled as soft on crime. 

Beck, who spent four decades with the LAPD, retired in 2019 after leading the agency for nearly nine years. In a statement, he acknowledged knowing Gascon, a former LAPD officer, for 30 years and supporting his bid to become the county’s top prosecutor in 2020. 

“I based my support for the election of District Attorney George Gascón on the hope he would advance public safety in Los Angeles and because of our close personal relationship of over 30 years,” Beck said. “After observing the negative effects of his policies and practices on public safety, I am compelled to rescind that endorsement.”

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FEb. 4, 2016: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, left, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti take questions about the bodies found at a park, during a news conference at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.

FEb. 4, 2016: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, left, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti take questions about the bodies found at a park, during a news conference at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles.
(AP)

“I have spent the majority of my life protecting and serving the people of Los Angeles and the men and women of its police department,” he added. “I believe they would be made safer and be better served by a District Attorney that emphasizes the rights of victims and the safety of our police officers.”

Calls and messages to Beck went unanswered. 

In response, Elise Moore, a spokesperson for Gascon’s campaign, told Fox News that it was “disappointing that Chief Beck has changed his position but we are respectful of his opinion and the many years of service that he has provided to the people of Los Angeles.”  

The rescission of his support comes as Gascon is battling another recall attempt, backlash from his own prosecutors and criticism from elected officials and law enforcement leaders and crime victims. Many of his criminal justice reforms have been met with scorn as the region continues to experience a crime wave.

Recall George Gascon sign/ George Gascon (Getty Images collage)

Recall George Gascon sign/ George Gascon (Getty Images collage)
(Getty Images)

Upon taking office in December 2020, Gascon issued a number of controversial directives that include barring prosecutors from seeking the death penalty and sentencing enhancements, charging juveniles as adults and asking for cash bail in non-violent cases. Critics have said the blanket policies have emboldened criminals and trampled on the rights of crime victims. 

“People are seeing firsthand now, how public safety has changed since Gascon,” recall co-founder Desiree Andrade, told Fox News. “I think that people now who were on his side are kind of putting their foot in their mouth at this point because crime has spiked in such a way that nobody can turn their heads anymore and be blind to the fact that we’re all in harms way and he’s playing Russian roulette with our lives.”  

Andrade’s son, Julian, was beaten to death and thrown into a canyon in 2018. Under Gascon, the suspects are only facing 25 years in prison, she said. 

Some of Gascon’s own prosecutors have also come out against his directives. Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, said his boss was running the DA’s office into the ground and compared it to a domestic airline. 

“Terrible service. No trust. Low employee morale. Chaotic. The feeling of being abandoned,” he wrote in a Wednesday newsletter.

In response to Beck’s announcement, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, which represents more than 800 local prosecutors in Los Angeles County, said it was proof that Gascon has “failed to deliver on his promise that his radical policies would make our communities safer.”

In addition, dozens of cities across Los Angeles County have approved no-confidence votes in the DA. 

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As the LAPD’s top cop, Beck welcomed police body cameras and advocated for less lethal forms of force when needed and more community engagement. He also helped reform the LAPD’s Rampart Division, which was plagued by allegations years earlier that officers beat suspects, stole drugs from evidence rooms and that a clique of officers engaged in bank robberies and other crimes.

After leaving the LAPD, he headed the Chicago Police Department as interim superintendent before leaving after five months. 



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