David Lacey, the husband of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey (D), is facing criminal charges for pointing a gun at Black Lives Matter protesters and threatening to shoot them, The Washington Post reports. On March 2, more than two months before George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked global protests, Lacey stood on his front porch and pulled his weapon out as demonstrators gathered at the Lacey home in response to DA Lacey’s refusal to charge police officers involved in violent incidents, according to The Post.
DA Lacey, who happens to be Los Angeles County’s first Black district attorney and the first woman to hold the job, on Tuesday (August 4) made a statement to the Associated Press in support of her husband. She slammed the criminal charges and said he was trying to protect her after she received death threats.
“The events that took place earlier this year have caused my family immense pain,” Lacey told the AP. “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.”
Samuel Tyre, an attorney for Mr. Lacey, spoke to The Guardian about his case and insists his client’s name will be cleared in court. “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,” he said.
As The Post reports, Cal State L.A. professor Melina Abdullah, who was the first to post a video of Lacey pointing a gun at protesters (below), said Mr. Lacey’s actions were far too extreme to attribute to fear. She believes he deserved to be hit with a felony charge.
I’m front of DA Jackie Lacey’s house for that community meeting she promised with the @BLMLA crew. Rang her bell to invite her.— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) March 2, 2020
Her husband pulled a gun, cocked it, pointed it at my chest and said “I’ll shoot you. I don’t care who you are.” @WP4BL @RealJusticePAC @shaunking pic.twitter.com/WtazUWSJIC
“I would think that if you’re afraid you would stay in the house and call the police because you were in fear,” Abdullah told the Los Angeles Times. “They weren’t in fear. They were agitated.”
According to The Post, Abdullah and roughly 30 other protesters gathered at the Lacey home to demand a meeting with the DA. At the time, Abdullah told The Post that DA Lacey “had repeatedly declined to discuss the group’s concerns about her handling of police violence against people of color.”
After Abdullah’s post showing Mr. Lacey’s aggressive reaction to the protesters went viral, DA Lacey held a press conference to apologize for her husband’s actions. She also made clear that her family had been frightened by ruthless threats, according to The Post.
“His response was in fear, and now that he realizes what happened, he wanted me to say to the protesters … that he was sorry, that’s he’s profoundly sorry,” Lacey said at the time while noting that she had been “followed” and had “received threats.”
The gun incident with Mr. Lacey preceded a tight reelection battle between DA Lacey and former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, The Post reports. Lacey earned 48.65 percent of the vote, while Gascón won 28 percent. The two will go toe to toe in November because Lacey failed to earn 50 percent of the vote.
According to The Post:
…in the wake of Floyd’s death, Lacey’s challenge has grown far steeper.
Gascón has seized on the demands of Black Lives Matter to promise deep changes to police accountability and has nabbed endorsements from major figures including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Ted Lieu of California, meanwhile, have recently withdrawn endorsements for Lacey, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested “it may be” time for a new top prosecutor, the Times reported.
Demonstrations against Lacey have also grown in size this summer, with thousands marching outside her office and her home.