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George Gascón (born 1954) is a former District Attorney of San Francisco. He was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in January 2011 to fill the vacancy left by the departing Kamala Harris. Gascón maintained the position by winning the November 2011 election.[1] Gascón officially resigned from this position on October 19, 2019.

George Gascón
Chief George Gascon SFPD.jpg
28th District Attorney of San Francisco
In office
January 9, 2011 – October 19, 2019
Preceded byKamala Harris
Succeeded bySuzy Loftus (interim)
Chief of the San Francisco Police Department
In office
January 8, 2010 – January 9, 2011
Preceded byHeather Fong
Succeeded byGreg Suhr
Personal details
Born1954 (age 64–65)
Havana, Cuba
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Fabiola Kramsky
EducationCalifornia State University, Long Beach (BA)
Western State University (JD)

Early lifeEdit

Gascón was born in Havana, Cuba, Gascón and his family immigrated to the United States in 1967 and settled in Bell, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.[citation needed] After dropping out of Bell High School, Gascón served in the United States Army from 1972 to 1975, receiving an honorable discharge as a sergeant (E-5), and earned his high school diploma.[citation needed] In 1978, Gascón joined the Los Angeles Police Department. He then became a sales manager at a Ford Motor Company dealership and then pursued higher education.[2] He received a bachelor's degree in history from California State University, Long Beach and a Juris Doctor from Western State University College of Law.[3] In 1987, he became a full-time police officer again and then assistant police chief and director of the office of operations.[citation needed] Gascón has been an active member of the California State Bar since 1996.

CareerEdit

Gascón started his career in policing as a beat cop with the Los Angeles Police Department.[citation needed]

Gascón served as chief of the Mesa, Arizona police department from 2006 to 2009.[4]

Gascón served as San Francisco Police Department chief from August 2009 to January 2011, succeeding Heather Fong.[3] He was replaced by Greg Suhr.[5]

In 2011, in his last act as Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom appointed Gascón as San Francisco District Attorney, filling the seat vacated by Kamala Harris. During his term of service, Gascón has been named among the Top 100 Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal,[6] and he received the Anti-Defamation League's Civil Rights Award.[7]

Work as District AttorneyEdit

Gascón implemented and launched the state's first prosecutorial data management system, similar to CompStat, called DA Stat.[8] This internal data collection tool informs data-driven prosecution.

Gascón coauthored Senate Bill 962, legislation requiring a “kill switch” on all smartphones sold in California.[9] He also co-authored 2014's Proposition 47,[citation needed] an initiative which reduced simple drug possession for personal use from a felony to a misdemeanor.[10] Proposition 47 has reduced the sentencing disparity in San Francisco between Caucasians and African Americans by nearly half.[11]

Gascón assembled[citation needed] the Blue Ribbon Panel[12] to investigate a scandal in the San Francisco Police Department regarding homophobic and racist texts exchanged between over 14 police officers in 2014.[13]

In 2016, following recommendations of both the Department of Justice and Blue Ribbon Panel, Gascón secured funding to create the Independent Investigations Bureau, which investigates shootings involving police officers, excessive force, and in-custody deaths.[14]

Gascón has advocated for the end of monetary bail.[15] Gascón brought the Public Safety Assessment (“PSA”) tool to San Francisco to assist courts in making bail decisions more equitably. Initial results indicate that, compared to defendants released by the PSA, double the percentage of defendants were arrested while they were out on bail or their own recognizance.[16]

In 2018, Gascón announced that he would apply California's Adult Use of Marijuana Act retroactively to every marijuana case since 1975 in order to level the playing field for those adversely affected by the criminalization of marijuana. The move cleared misdemeanor convictions and reduced felony convictions for those entitled for record relief under the act.[17] He later partnered with Code for America, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which kicked off a national movement resulting in dozens of cities across the country clearing marijuana convictions.[18]

ResignationEdit

Gascón resigned from his San Francisco District Attorney position in October 2019, and said that he was considering running for Los Angeles District Attorney.[19] Suzy Loftus, a former police commission president and district attorney candidate, was sworn in to succeed Gascon on an interim basis on 19 October 2019.[20]

CriticismEdit

Gascón has received criticism for comments against ethnic minorities. In March 2010, Gascón made remarks about San Francisco's susceptibility to terrorism by the "Middle Eastern community" that upset Arab-Americans.[21][22] Gascón was accused of calling African-Americans "those people" in "a derogatory way" at a dinner in 2010 by San Francisco Police Department officers under oath in depositions.[23][24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ City and County of San Francisco, Department of Elections [1] "Official Ranked-Choice Results Report November 8, 2011 Consolidated Municipal Election District Attorney"
  2. ^ Stern, Ray (July 10, 2008). "Mesa Police Chief George Gascón stares down Sheriff Joe Arpaio". Phoenix New Times. pp. 4. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Chief Gascon's Biography". San Francisco Police Department. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  4. ^ Mayor Picks Arizona Chief Retrieved April 24, 2018
  5. ^ From High School Dropout to Police Chief Referenced October 9th, 2019
  6. ^ BASF Bulletin Board: Our Members and Leaders Circle Firms Making Headlines Referenced October 9, 2019
  7. ^ ADL Awards Luncheon Event Referenced October 9, 2019
  8. ^ SF DA Gascón launches state's first website showing prosecution data Referenced October 9, 2019
  9. ^ Cell Phone Thefts Decrease in S.F. Referenced October 9, 2019
  10. ^ Prop 47 October 9, 2019
  11. ^ Research finds Prop. 47 has reduced racial disparities in drug arrests Referenced October 9 2019
  12. ^ Blue Ribbon Panel Referenced October 9 2019
  13. ^ San Francisco cops accused of exchanging racist text messages Referenced October 9 2019
  14. ^ The San Francisco District Attorney is now the lead investigator of police shootings Referenced October 9 2019
  15. ^ State must make cash bail system just and protect public safety Referenced October 9 2019
  16. ^ Bail or Jail? Tool Used by San Francisco Courts Shows Promising Results Referenced October 9 2019
  17. ^ San Francisco To Expunge Thousands Of Marijuana Convictions Referenced October 9 2019
  18. ^ SF district attorney to wipe out 9,000-plus pot cases going back to 1975 Referenced October 9 2019
  19. ^ Lagos, Marisa (3 October 2019). "San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon Resigns". KQED. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/loftus-sworn-in-as-interim-district-attorney/
  21. ^ Keeling, Brock (26 March 2010). "Police Chief Gascón Angers Middle Eastern and Arab Community". SFist. Archived from the original on 16 May 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  22. ^ Knight, Heather (26 March 2010). "Police chief's remarks on terrorism anger Arabs". SF Gate. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  23. ^ Ho, Vivian (9 March 2016). "SF D.A. Gascón's divide with law enforcement deepens". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  24. ^ "SF Police Union Officials Claim DA Gascon Made Racist Remarks At Drunken Party". CBS SF Bay Area. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.

External linksEdit