Gascón planning to dissolve or severely downsize LA County DA Hardcore Gang unit, sources say

Major changes could soon be coming to the way Los Angeles prosecutes crimes involving gangs.

The changes have George Gascón critics crying foul and his supporters singing his praises.

Multiple sources within the Los Angeles County DA's Office tell FOX 11's Bill Melugin that Gascón is planning to severely downsize or outright dissolve the office's Hardcore Gang unit, which may happen as early as next month.

It's one of the oldest units in the office and it's responsible for prosecuting the most heinous and complex gang-related crimes in the county.

On the condition of anonymity, two LA County Deputy DA's in the Hardcore Gang unit confirm to FOX 11 what multiple sources are telling us: that Gascón is planning to disband or downsize the unit in a major way.

"What we're hearing is that the Hardcore Gang Unit will be dissolved," said one of the prosecutors.

"My understanding is there's going to be a dissolution of the unit either April 1 or April 2," said the second prosecutor.

The prosecutors say they feel they've already been hamstrung by Gascón's decision to ban them from using gang and gun enhancements, and they feel that disbanding the unit will be a disaster waiting to happen, given the violent crime surge across Los Angeles.

"We can already hear in jail calls and interviews with officers on the street telling us that the gang members are laughing at them, I mean it’s undermined the credibility of law enforcement in its entirety," one of the prosecutors told FOX 11.

On the other hand, Akili, a Black Lives Matter activist, says Gascón is listening to his community.

"He is simply doing what the people have been asking for. That's why he was elected," Akili said. "We have called for the disbandment of that unit because we saw how it was abusive, how it was used to criminalize people in neighborhoods, and we saw that it was ineffective. Now he’s simply saying, let’s just swing it back to where it should be."

The prosecutors in the Hardcore Gang unit say dissolving it will hurt marginalized communities the most.

"The misnomer with my cases, because I do all gang violence cases, gang murder particularly, is that all of my victims are rival gang members, and that’s not true. They miss their targets and they get their enemies wrong fully because of the way they look, whether that's a Hispanic male with a shaved head or a Black male standing on the corner at the wrong place at the wrong time."

As of Tuesday night, FOX 11 is still waiting to hear back from Gascón's office.

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