The husband of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey pulled a gun on protesters outside the home of the county’s top prosecutor early Monday morning, further heightening a tense primary over the district attorney’s job.
Video from the scene shows a man standing in Lacey’s doorway in Granada Hills pointing a gun and shouting, “I will shoot you. Get off of my porch.”
Protesters identified Lacey’s husband as the man who was holding the gun. District attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales confirmed Lacey’s husband, David, brandished the weapon at the group who rang his doorbell. David Lacey is a retired investigative auditor for the D.A.’s bureau of investigation.
Officers responded to the home in the 17900 block of Mayerling Street about 5:40 a.m. after someone called to report protesters outside, said Officer Lizeth Lomeli with the Los Angeles Police Department. Police officials could not immediately comment on whether any firearm had been brandished or confirm if the man seen in the video is Lacey’s husband.
A group of about 30 protesters arrived before dawn outside Lacey’s home, according to Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter organizer and Cal State Los Angeles professor who said she was one of three people the gun was pointed at.
The group was at Lacey’s home to protest her refusal to meet with black activists and organizers in South L.A., Abdullah said. During a contentious October meeting of the Stonewall Democratic Club to discuss her handling of the Ed Buck case, Lacey promised to arrange a meeting but never delivered.
“So we decided to have the meeting in front of her house,” Abdullah said.
The group arranged chairs and prayed on the sidewalk but did not initially approach Lacey’s property — until Abdullah and two others went to the front door. Then, they said, they heard a gun cock.
“I thought I was being paranoid, and I said, ‘That didn’t sound good,’” Abdullah said. “And then her husband opened the door and pointed a gun and said. ‘Get off my porch.’”
No one has been arrested in connection with the protest, Lomeli said. Lacey’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“As with any incident, LAPD will first investigate and if appropriate bring to an independent prosecutor’s office for review,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “The California attorney general’s office will assist LAPD in this matter.”
Lacey addressed the incident during a news conference late Monday morning. She said she’s been the subject of various threats during her tenure as district attorney and protesters have showed up at her house before.
“Our home is our sanctuary,” she said. “I do not believe it is fair or right for protesters to show up at the homes of people who dedicate their lives to public service.”
She said her husband’s response was rooted in fear and that he is “profoundly sorry” for what happened.
“It was just him and I in that house and we really didn’t know what was about to happen,” she said. “I too am sorry if anybody was harmed. It’s never my intent to harm any protester. I just want to live in peace and do my job.”
Protesters remained outside Lacey’s home for more than an hour early Monday, holding signs reading “#ByeJackie” and “Honk if you think DA Jackie Lacey should prosecute cops who kill.” Officers stood a few feet away watching the activity.
Abdullah and other demonstrators stage weekly protests of Lacey outside the district attorney’s office, usually chanting names of people shot and killed by county law enforcement officers. They have protested at her home at least once before, Abdullah said.
The incident comes a day before Los Angeles County voters are set to cast their ballots in what has become a fierce race for district attorney.
Lacey, a two-term incumbent, is trying to fend off a pair of challengers — former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón and former Los Angeles County public defender Rachel Rossi — who embody a nationwide push to elect more progressive prosecutors.
The three candidates have engaged in a hotly contested campaign that included a combative January debate marked by protests, which Lacey later cited as a reason to turn down further public debates.
Lacey, who has worked at the D.A.’s office since the late 1980s, has long tried to improve treatment for mentally ill defendants and tried to position herself as a reformer on other issues. While she’s beloved by the law enforcement community, Lacey’s tenure has been marked by a perceived hesitance to charge powerful figures and police officers who use deadly force, earning her the scorn of local activist groups.
Gascón’s campaign declined to comment on Monday’s incident. Jasmyne Cannick, who is serving as communications director for Rossi’s campaign, posted video of the incident that immediately gained traction on Twitter, and questioned the actions of the man seen in the clip.
“What if someone got nervous at the sight of a gun in their face and dropped their cellphone or something else that made a loud noise that then triggered Mr. Lacey’s finger causing him to shoot someone for no reason?” Cannick wrote on Twitter. “There are so many reasons that his actions are just wrong.”
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