Husband of Los Angeles DA Charged for Pulling Gun on Protesters

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey braces herself before she speaks to the media after her husband David Lacey aimed a gun at protesters who rang their doorbell at dawn on March 2, 2020. (Courthouse News photo/Nathan Solis)

LOS ANGELES (CN) — The husband of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey faces misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident in which he pulled a handgun on Black Lives Matter activists who rallied outside his home seeking a meeting with the DA.

The incident took place a day before the heated March 3 primary election in which Jackie Lacey was up for re-election.

Members of the Black Lives Matter LA group organized a protest outside the Granada Hills, California, home of the DA, who they long criticized for her recalcitrance toward progressive reforms of the criminal legal system and her refusals to charge officers who fatally shoot residents. 

In a video tweeted by California State University, LA, professor and BLM LA organizer Melina Abdullah, David Lacey is seen standing at the entrance of his home, pointing a handgun at activists who rang his doorbell.

“Get off of my porch,” David Lacey says in the video. “I will shoot you.”

Off camera Abdullah asks, “Can you tell Jackie Lacey we’re here?”

The incident sent a shockwave through the county and rocked the campaign of the incumbent DA, who was fending off competition from former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi. 

In a press conference following the incident, Jackie Lacey said another agency would investigate the matter and that her husband was “profoundly sorry” for pointing his gun at activists.

Members of BLM LA said outside the DA’s office at the Hall of Justice that the husband’s apology should have been delivered to them personally and not through a prepared statement to news media.

A month after the incident, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said it was investigating the matter.

On Monday, Becerra’s office charged David Lacey with three misdemeanor counts of assault with a firearm during the March 2 incident, according to the criminal complaint filed in LA County Superior Court. 

The 3-page complaint signed by Deputy Attorney General Seth P. McCutcheon accuses David Lacey of assaulting Abdullah and fellow activists Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Andrews Marks. 

Jackie Lacey issued a personal statement on the charges Tuesday, saying the March 2 incident has caused her family pain and that her husband was trying to protect her.

“My husband acted in fear for my safety after we were subjected to months of harassment that included a death threat no less than a week earlier,” the DA said in the statement. “Protesters arrived at my house shortly after 5 a.m. while I was upstairs. My husband felt that we were in danger and acted out of genuine concern for our well-being.”

In a statement, David Lacey’s attorney Samuel E. Tyre expressed disappointment with the decision to prosecute.

“My client and I are disappointed that the attorney general’s office felt that the conduct at issue amounted to criminal behavior. We disagree entirely with their assessment, but we have the utmost faith in the justice system, and we are confident that the correct result will be reached,” Tyre said.

“At this time we are not going to comment on the facts of the case, except to say that my client’s human instinct is forever and always to protect his wife and his family and to keep them safe from physical harm.  We look forward to all relevant facts coming to light.”

The DA — the first woman and first black person elected to the LA County DA’s office — faces a tough runoff against Gascón in November, a race framed as an indictment on the DA’s office’s current approach to police accountability. 

Since taking office in 2012, Jackie Lacey’s office has only filed charges against one officer — voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a man during a traffic stop at a Norwalk gas station. 

Neither Abdullah nor a spokesperson for BLM LA responded to requests for comment by press time.

In recent months, leading California Democrats including Congressman Adam Schiff have revoked their endorsement of Jackie Lacey as the nationwide movement for police accountability has fomented support for Gascon. Others pulling their support from Jackie Lacey include Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Maxine Waters.

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