Jackie Lacey concedes to George Gascón in LA DA race

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District Attorney Jackie Lacey is conceding to George Gascón, who has nearly 54-percent of the current vote count Friday morning.

She held a press conference Friday morning.

In the hotly contested LA County District Attorney's race, George Gascón was holding onto a significant lead over incumbent Jackie Lacey.

Gascón is a former LAPD Assistant Chief of Police and San Francisco D.A. while Lacey is trying to hold onto her third term as Los Angeles District Attorney.

Lacey, LA County first Black and first female DA, had strong support from law enforcement unions and came off as the tough-on-crime candidate, a label she described as "unfair.” Lacey touted her efforts to change the system, such as the creation of a conviction review unit, which has exonerated a few wrongly convicted people.

Protesters regularly gathered outside Lacey office to demand prosecutions of police officers for fatal shootings. She insisted those are decisions that should be based on facts and evidence, not on demonstrations.

USC Law Professor Jody Armour says the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis gave a huge boost to longstanding efforts led by Black Lives Matter-LA to push LA County's first Black and first female DA out of office for not prosecuting police officers for fatal shootings.

"She tried to make social identify an issue but the problem was people of her same social identity were on the other side of the issue saying 'you haven't done enough for your community,'" Armour says.

Jaime Regalado, emeritus professor of political science at Cal State LA, says the nationwide movement against police brutality put Lacey "in the crosshairs.”

"Because she had been a very traditional candidate, those who wanted criminal justice reform started taking direct aim at her," Regalado says.

Both Armour and Regalado agree that Gascon, who presented himself as a reformer, will have to quickly prove himself to progressives.

Armour says he does not expect to see a flood of prosecutions for police shootings under the new DA because state law makes it "very difficult" to win such cases. But he adds Gascon may be more willing to file charges and let a jury decide.

Lacey had strong law enforcement support.

Armour points out Gascon's election may cause some friction between police and prosecutors but says they have to find a way to "bridge any differences" and work together. If not, he warns, "public safety will suffer."