Witness LA

Efforts to gather enough valid signatures to put recall of LA DA George Gascón on the ballot fails a second time

Monday afternoon, Dean Logan, Los Angeles County’s Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, sent out a news release stating that his office had “completed the examination and verification” of all 715,833 petition signatures submitted for the recall of District Attorney George Gascón, and that not enough of the signatures were valid to get the recall on the ballot in November of this year.
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College requirements for police forces can save Black lives, but may increase arrest rates

Editor’s Note: On January 1, 2022, Ab 89, the Peace Officers Education and Age Conditions for Employment (PEACE) Act became law in California, setting new requirements for law enforcement recruits. Specifically, the PEACE Act raises the minimum age for new police hires from 18 to 21. This may not be as impactful as it sounds, as fewer than one percent of the state’s law enforcement officers are younger than 21.

LA Grand jury continues its probe into the troubling incident of the neck-kneeling sheriff’s deputy & its cover-up

On August 4, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department got a subpoena, or multiple subpoenas, asking for the LASD to turn over records pertaining to the case of Deputy Douglass Johnson, who knelt for more than three minutes on the head and neck of jail resident Enzo Escalante, when Escalante was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

Survivors Call on CA Legislators to Expand Access to Victim Compensation to Include Families Impacted by Violent Police Encounters

Victims and advocates are urging California legislators to pass a bill meant to ensure that the families of people killed by law enforcement, as well as individuals whom police seriously injure, are eligible for state-level aid for victims. The bill, SB 299, would prohibit the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB)...

How do grand juries work? What is their role in criminal justice, & how & why prosecutors are using them to investigate efforts to overturn the 2020 election?

When former Los Angeles County sheriff Lee Baca, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and other members of the LASD were being investigated for obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice having to do with their part in the 2011 attempt to derail a federal criminal probe into corruption and brutality inside LA County’s jail system, those of us who were trying to figure out who might be indicted and when, got our best clues as to what charges might be upcoming by learning who was testifying in front of the federal grand jury convened for the purpose of the investigations, and what kind of questions witnesses were being asked.

Incomplete data reporting at the start of the pandemic masked a troubling trend in California school suspensions

Over the past decade, California has been making incremental progress toward reducing suspensions and expulsions — which are disproportionately used to punish students of color, low income kids, and kids with disabilities — and replacing reliance on school discipline with restorative justice practices. That progress appears to be...

New police accountability laws up demands on state agencies

California Department of Justice agents realized they were short-handed just hours after a Los Angeles police officer shot and killed an unarmed man on Hollywood Boulevard. A 911 caller told police the man was threatening people on the morning of July 15, 2021, waving what appeared to be a pistol in a busy tourist pocket. The object in his hand turned out to be a lighter with a pistol grip.

Sheriff Villanueva was coming to Monday’s hearing on deputy gangs. Now (predictably) he’s not

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s subpoena saga continues. Here’s the newest chapter in short. This past Friday, July 22, the LA County Sheriff’s information bureau confirmed to Kate Cagle and Spectrum News that Sheriff Alex Villanueva would indeed attend the Civilian Oversight Commission’s latest hearing on deputy gangs to be held on Monday, July 25.

She Fought the Law and She Won: WeHo versus the LASD

Over the past month, there have been two competing headlines about West Hollywood’s fight with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The LASD-approved one goes something like this:. West Hollywood Votes to Reduce Los Angeles County Sheriff Funding Amid Crime Wave. Enter WeHo (West Hollywood) Public Safety Commissioner Nika...

When ‘slow violence’ becomes ‘fast violence’ in an LA community besieged by industry and pollution

The Los Angeles community of Wilmington is home to the largest concentration of oil refineries in California. The neighborhood’s 53,000 residents, mostly Latino, share their home with 400 industrial sites and five oil refineries. Fumes from the refineries’ leaks and flares pollute the air, and cause leukemia and other forms of cancer, as well as heart disease, asthma, and other physical and mental health problems.

LA Dem’s endorse Luna over Villanueva, while Supes vote 4 to 1 to ask county voters to give the board authority to remove the sheriff

This past Tuesday, July 12, was not the greatest of days for Sheriff Alex Villanueva. First, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion giving the go-ahead for a special election in November to ask county voters to grant the board the authority to remove the county’s sheriff with a four fifths vote if they deem it necessary, “for cause…”

When Disability Intersects with Domestic Violence, Here’s How to Better Help Survivors

I discovered I had a disability before I realized I was in an abusive relationship, but the two were interwoven in my life for many years. My disability, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, made it difficult to cope with my daily life, let alone navigate the violent relationship I was in. My habits and compulsions were gradually consuming all my time and energy. But my relationship made it much more difficult to seek treatment and stay on life-changing medications.

Listening to Frederick Douglass on the 4th of July

On this painful Fourth of July 2022, where the hope and delight of our nation’s yearly celebration is laced with griefs of many varieties, we noticed that NPR has marked the day by asking the descendants of Frederick Douglass to read his indelible speech, What to the Slave is 4th of July?