San Gabriel Valley Tribune: West Covina sends letter to D.A. criticizing changes he’s made

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San Gabriel Valley Tribune: West Covina sends letter to D.A. criticizing changes he’s made

In a letter sent to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday, June 23, the West Covina City Council criticizes three of his new directives and calls for their rescission.

Mayor Letty Lopez-Viado, who drafted the letter, said she opposes controversial moves Gascón has made since taking office in December.

Specifically, the letter takes issue with three specific directives from Gascón. The first is the reticence to decline or dismiss numerous misdemeanor cases, such as trespassing, disturbing the peace and drinking in public.

The second is the move to eliminate several sentencing options, including special allegations and sentencing enhancements for those convicted of crimes. The third is the promise to provide greater oversight into how police investigate and resolved cases.

“We’re demanding justice,” Lopez-Viado said at the June 15 City Council meeting. “We’re pretty much saying his directives suck.”

The City Council approved the letter at its June 15 meeting, voting 4-1, with Councilman Brian Tabatabai opposed.

The District Attorney’s office responded to the letter, stating that Gascon is focused on enhancing public safety, increasing equity, expanding victim services and strengthening police accountability.

“The policies implemented over the last six months go to furthering these core principles for all Angelenos, including West Covina residents,” Alex Bastian, special adviser to Gascón said in an emailed statement. “After reading the mayor’s public statements and letter, it appears to me that she is misinformed.

“Unfortunately, misinformation has been spreading significantly in recent months. We will continue to work professionally and collaboratively with all of our city and county partners, including our partners in West Covina.”

Lopez-Viado said the West Covina Police Department sent 154 misdemeanor cases filed between January and April to the District Attorney’s Office and all of them were denied to be prosecuted. But after the Police Department contacted the District Attorney’s Office, some of those cases will be reviewed and re-evaluated.

It was a step in the right direction, Lopez-Viado said. “I’m happy to see that. I am looking forward to see exactly what’s going to happen.”

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