LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County’s new District Attorney George Gascón was sworn in on Monday. Among his proposals, Gascón wants to no longer pursue the death penalty nor try some juveniles as adults and he wants to reopen past cases including police use of force.
Gascón says he wants to usher in a new era of criminal justice in Los Angeles County.
However, some of those plans aren't going over well with police officers and families of crime victims.
"I was pissed, I was angry, I was hurt, I felt betrayed once again," said Demicha Lofton Thomas, the mother of a murdered victim.
Her son, Gerrik, was killed by a minor in 2016.
She says Gascón is sending the wrong message if he stops charging juveniles as adults.
"They’re learning that 'oh, I can go out and kill somebody and the law is just going to go slap me on the wrist, and put me in time-out like I’m three years old and then they gonna release me back into the streets so I can kill again,' that’s not fair," Thomas said.
"This year alone in LA County we had over 600 homicides, that’s unacceptable," said Lawanda Hawkins with Justice for Murdered Children.
To be exact, Los Angeles County has reported 637 homicides in 2020, and that number is expected to go up before the end of the year.
While Black Lives Matter called for defunding the police, these mothers say that was a horrible idea, and they were shocked when the LA City Council voted to cut $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department's budget.
"We can never imagine, when you have an increase in crime, anyone would say to us, that we’re going to take away law enforcement, when you know that’s the only thing that we can have to combat this crime," said Hawkins.
The group of mothers is asking to meet with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gascón so they can understand first-hand what communities of color are dealing with.
"Stop making decisions for our community when you don’t even live here," said Fonda Jordon, mother of a murdered victim.
"Please, our public safety is at risk," added Hawkins.
FOX 11 also spoke with Melina Abdullah with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles about defunding the police.
"We do have some detractors who don’t quite understand what it means to defund the police, who don’t understand that when you spend 54% of your cities general funds on police, when you live in a county that has created the largest jail system in the world, that you’re not actually investing in the things that bring safety," said Abdullah. "So we’d love to have more public conversations about what it means to, yes, defend the police, yes, divest from policing prisons and jails, so that we can invest in the things that bring safe communities."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti originally called for the Los Angeles Police Department to receive 53.8% of the city's "unrestricted" revenue – money that politicians can spend as they wish. Even after the $150 million cut, which will slash overtime pay and take police staffing to its lowest level since 2008, the LAPD remains on track to receive more than half of those funds.
Abdullah said she would love to meet up with these mothers to discuss the issue of defunding the police.
Regarding Gascón, Abdullah said she loves his progressive agenda.