Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday formally announced a reorganization of the vaunted Hardcore Gang Unit to reduce crime in troubled neighborhoods.
The disbanded unit will be replaced by the newly established Community Violence Reduction Division, which will be staffed by experienced prosecutors who will collaborate with the Los Angeles Police Department and other community partners, Gascón said in a statement.
Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys in Los Angeles County and a former Hardcore Gang Unit prosecutor, believes Gascon’s approach is misguided and politically motivated.
“Mr. Gascón decimated the gang division to fulfill reckless political promises to special interest groups,” Siddall said. “He did this notwithstanding the rise of gang violence, especially in economically disadvantaged communities. Year to date, neighborhoods like Watts have experienced a 130% increase in homicides compared to last year.
“Now he is attempting to disguise this public safety blunder by rebranding the gang unit and embellishing on his achievements,” he said. “There is nothing new to his approach of embedding prosecutors in police stations. The only difference is that he is devoting fewer resources to combat an explosion of gang violence.”