LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — After her 25-year-old son was murdered by an alleged gang member Emma Rivas can't shake the lingering, seemingly never-ending pain.
"It's like an open wound," Rivas said. "Every time there's a murder I have to re-live my own son's murder."
The man accused of killing Rivas' son is now in custody and awaiting his trial, however, the grieving mother is concerned the suspect will not face sentencing enhancements because of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's policies.
"I feel abandoned," she said. "I feel crushed because I did vote for him."
Gascón is now facing a second recall effort, which organizers say is better funded and organized than the first. The L.A. County Registrar's office has authorized recall organizers to start circulating their petition. The petition must receive valid signatures from no less than 10% of the registered voters in the county, 566,857, by July 6, 2022, to move forward.
"The unfortunate truth is... if those defendants had been handled differently, not paroled, not released from custody, we might not have as many current victims now," said Kathleen Cady, co-chair of the recall campaign and a former L.A. County prosecutor for more than 30 years.
Gascón has been under fire after crime surged in L.A., with his chief critic, Sheriff Alex Villanueva pointing to a massive jump in homicides. However, in the same period rapes and robberies have decreased. Prosecutors like Jonathan Hatami said criminals are emboldened by Gascón's perceived "soft on crime" policies — specifically no bail on non-violent arrests.
"Even though the state has instituted zero bail, that doesn't mean the DA can't send his prosecutors into court to argue there should be bail in these cases," said Hatami. "That's called the law. He's told his prosecutors they're not allowed to do that."
Gascón's campaign responded to the news of the new petition with a statement that reads:
"Los Angeles voters are far more interested in actually enchancing community safety for families, victims and all those living in L.A. County than they are in yet another politically motiviated recall attempt, especially after L.A. County voted 70.8% against the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom just a few months ago."
Professor Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, and a supporter of Gascón said that he's reforming the justice system.
"We know that there is always an effort to block progress," she said. "What George Gascón represents to most of us in Los Angeles County is progress, that we are moving toward real common sense progressive justice reform... We're not going to try children as adults — that's common sense... We're going to prosecute people only for the crimes they're actually accused of, that's common sense."
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