CALIFORNIA – In a February 7, interview with Fox News, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami claimed that so-called “progressive agendas” of District Attorneys in his city and others are allegedly “leaving behind” violent crime victims in favor of supporting the perpetrators of these crimes.
Hatami, who has been with the LA DA’s office for nearly 15 years, said on “Fox & Friends” that more “liberal” crime prosecution policies in his city have resulted in an uptick in violence as opposed to a reduction.
“To date there’s been a 25 percent increase in homicides in Los Angeles City as compared to last year. Los Angeles County, according to the sheriff…there’s been a 140 percent increase in homicides,” he said. “I constantly hear progressive prosecutors such as George Gascon talk about mass incarceration, but what about mass victimization? Many progressive prosecutors, including George Gaston, are leaving those victims behind.”
During the interview, Fox News claimed that two other cities with reportedly “progressive” approaches to crime and punishment have displayed a year-over-year increase in homicides. According to Fox, Philadelphia had 356 homicides in 2019, but 499 in 2020; in St. Louis, 2019 saw the city plagued by 194 homicides, with that number increasing to 264 in 2020.
Newly-elected District Attorney George Gascon is facing backlash for what some are calling an “overly progressive” approach to crime and punishment; on his first day in office, Gascon directed his deputy district attorneys to stop seeking money bail for misdemeanor, non-violent and non-serious felony offenses.
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“Money bail is as unjust as it is unsafe. It allows wealthy people who are dangerous to purchase their freedom while those without means who pose no risk to public safety languish in jail awaiting trial,” Gascon said in a statement. “There is no evidence that cash bail provides a sufficient incentive necessary for people to return to court. But, there is evidence that the inability for people to obtain money for bail leads to them losing their jobs, homes and access to treatment while separating them from their children. It can destroy families and it weakens our communities.”
Hatami, meanwhile, has been an outspoken critic on Gascon’s “no bail” policy, as he stated on his Fox & Friends interview Sunday. He agreed with the general consensus that policing in the United States is indeed in need of major reform, but said that making things easier on violent criminals at the expense of the people they hurt is not the way to go about doing it.
“I believe in social reforms, but not when they’re made in haste not when they jeopardize the safety of the public and not when they do harm to individuals and leave the victims behind,” Hatami said. “One of those policies is zero bail. California just overwhelmingly voted to say no to zero bail, George Gascon has violated the will of the people and he’s implemented zero bail for all misdemeanors and for most felonies, including domestic violence and child abuse.”
“These prosecutors are basically standing up and saying that they’re for the defendant, therefore the criminal, and they’re leaving the victim behind,” Hatami added.