Los Angeles County Declines to File Charges for Curfew Violations or Failure to Disperse
DA Jackie Lacey Lets Curfew Violators Avoid Charges. Why Not Charge Them? Politics, Duh
June 15, 2020
In a County wracked by looting, arson, and rioting during the end of May and beginning of June; LA County's chief law enforcement officer, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, declined to file charges for curfew violations or failure to disperse.
Curfews were imposed for several days during this period, both county-wide and within cities. In Santa Monica, curfews were imposed as early as 1:30 pm on June 1 and 2:00 pm on June 2. Obviously, these curfews were a severe imposition on the liberty of innocent citizens in the county, disrupting the planned reopening of businesses and curtailing general movement. However, most of us put up with them in the interest of allowing law enforcement to keep the peace and clear any future potential riots and looting. With a curfew in place, police need no "reasonable cause" to disperse and arrest. It becomes nearly impossible to start a riot.
In a slap in the face to all residents who dutifully stayed home and indoors at insanely early hours for four days, Lacey is letting off the self-righteous virtue signalers who decided their right to protest superseded the right of the rest of us to be safe in our property and lives.
Lacey's motivation for declining to file charges against curfew violators is great while any motivation to prosecute is negligible. In her press release boasting of her restraint, Lacey implies the first motivation: appeasing the protesters. She wrote, "I believe whole-heartedly in free speech and support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against historic racial injustice in our criminal justice system and throughout our nation."
Notice that she only supports the rights of protesters who wish to protest a cause which is popular in far-left Los Angeles. She doesn't say she supports the First Amendment right to free speech in general. She only supports those who want to protest "historic racial injustice."
A fine upholder of equity under the law, DA Lacey.
Lacey's further motivation is also appeasement. The loudest voices in the current moment (though probably not the majority) are calling for "defunding the police." Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has already pledged to redirect money from law enforcement in order to "invest" in minority communities, whatever that means. By making a big deal out of declining to file Refusal to Disperse charges against curfew violators, Lacey is proving that law enforcement in Los Angeles is an okay institution. Cool, you know. In with your righteous anger. Nobody needs to take away their budget.
In addition, it should be noted that Lacey is facing a runoff election in November against George Gascon, formerly the San Francisco DA. Lacey has been accused, primarily by Gascon and far-left pro-criminal groups like Reform LA Jails, of being lax in prosecuting bad cops.
We must note that Gascon is not a better choice than Lacey, no matter her drawbacks. For one things, Gascon has no better record than Lacey in prosecuting cops. He has been severely criticized for failing to prosecute a high-profile police abuse case. At the same time, he wants to reduce even more crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and let more criminals out of jail. Under his watch, crime in San Francisco increased significantly.
In the end, while Lacey's boast about declining to file charges has many powerful motivations, her actual decision to do so probably depends largely on the lack of any real punishment to be meted out. Refusal to Disperse is merely a misdemeanor. Those convicted of nonviolent offenses are not jailed in today's Proposition 57 and COVID-19 world. Protesters may get arrested and pulled in for booking, but that is more a desirable badge of honor than a punishment.
So those who violated curfew in order to prove their social justice bona fides - while simultaneously putting the rest of us, who obeyed curfew, in danger from violent anarchists who threatened to invade neighborhoods and set fire to homes - are rewarded for their selfishness and will have no reason to obey any curfew in the future.
The laws in this state encourage lawless behavior over decent behavior, selfishness over caring for one's neighbor, and motivate hard-working citizens to want to move elsewhere.