September 24, 2022
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon defended his decision to keep a man out of jail who would go on to become the killer of two police officers, claiming the perpetrator had “no history of violence” despite an attempt by his probation officer to put him back behind bars.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon defended his decision to keep a man out of jail who would go on to become the killer of two police officers, claiming the perpetrator had “no history of violence” despite an attempt by his probation officer to put him back behind bars.

“The outcome in this particular case … was appropriate,” Gascon said during a Tuesday press conference. “[Justin] Flores had no history of violence and very little contact with the criminal justice system for 10 years.”

As a movement to recall him heats up, Gascon took the rare step of commenting on a controversy surrounding his perceived anti-victim policies. In this case, two police officers were shot to death by a felon who would have still been in jail if Gascon had not offered him a plea bargain for a 20-day sentence last year, said former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

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In addition, Fox News has reported that Flores had a string of misdemeanor cases between a first-degree burglary felony in 2011 and the June 14 shooting of El Monte police officers Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana. The officers were responding to a 911 call of a possible stabbing in a motel room when they were shot by Flores.

Afterward, Flores ran to the parking lot, where additional police officers killed him. As news of the shooting unfolded, Flores’s criminal history was made public, and anger ensued in the community.

“This individual has a record from 2009 all the way up to 2022. He was involved in the criminal justice system for more than 10 years with two felonies, multiple convictions, and firearm violations,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, a frequent Gascon critic, said. “He was an admitted gang member and committing domestic violence against his wife before the murders.”

In 2021, Flores was arrested on charges of possessing narcotics and a gun and ammunition in violation of his probation, Hatami said.

By dismissing the ammunition charge, Gascon was able to avoid a mandatory 32-month sentence, Cooley said.

“A felon in possession of a gun suggests a person might have a tendency for violence,” Cooley said. “And [the] very fact that he ended up murdering two police officers with a gun is somber evidence of that. Gascon is putting things in the best possible light given his failed policies in this instance. But for Gascon’s directives, Flores would’ve been incarcerated as of the date of the murders.”

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But Gascon disputed this, saying the system is not perfect.

“When people are arrested for serious crimes, we work hard to ensure that there are serious consequences, including lengthy periods of incarceration,” he said.

A spokesperson for Gascon said the office would not pay for Flores’s funeral but refused to answer messages from the Washington Examiner regarding how a deviation from the policy is allowed to occur.

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