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L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón Loses $1.5 Million Workplace Retaliation Lawsuit

Emanuel Shirazi

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón faces 17 civil claims from prosecutors who say they were reassigned or passed up for promotions after speaking out against his progressive policies.

On Monday, an L.A. County prosecutor, Shawn Randolph, was awarded $1.5 million as part of a retaliation lawsuit against the District Attorney. Shawn claims that once she began to speak out against his policies she was transferred from the DA’s juvenile division, where she was the head of the division, and effectively demoted. According to her complaint filed in 2021, the transfer and effective demotion deprived her of a key role in the office and harmed any future opportunities for advancement. George Gascon’s prosecutors and elected officials have been critically investigating his criminal justice reforms and policies. Randolph had raised concerns that there was a possibility that the DA’s reforms could be harmful or unethical. Her case was the first to go to trial from 17 workplace retaliation lawsuits that have been filed against the LA County District Attorney.

Gascón has been accused of creating a hostile work environment and pressuring prosecutors to commit unethical and illegal actions in court. Prosecutors claim that his policies have excluded public safety and victims’ rights for political gain. One of the policies Randolph objected against, was looking to reduce chargers against underage offenders to limit strikes against children, even if they were accused of committing violent crimes. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin accused George Gascon of putting into action several policies that have resulted in the deaths and victimization of an undisclosed number of innocent citizens and, are also illegal. Many prosecutors and employees of the County District Attorney have expressed concerns about the rise in crime, homicides, and thefts due to the change in policies enacted by Gascón.

An attorney for the Defendants argued that Shawn Randolph’s allegations were baseless and told jurors that Randolph was actually frustrated that she didn’t get the job at the courthouse she had requested. According to Shawn Randolph, being transferred to the parole division is a dead-end position for a head deputy. County attorneys stated that she was not demoted and that she kept the same salary.

Gascón’s office released a statement stating that they were “disappointed by the jury’s verdict” and that they are still considering their options regarding the reassignment of multiple attorneys to new positions in the office.

George Gascón started his career as a cop with the L.A. police department. Then, he served as police chief for the San Francisco police department until he was elected as the city’s district attorney. He was elected L.A. County District Attorney because of his platform of police accountability and systemic reform amidst public outrage over George Floyd’s murder in 2020. He has faced heavy criticism from many L.A. County citizens and has faced multiple recall attempts since he took office that year. Recall supporters include Gascón’s deputy prosecutors, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and LA Mayoral candidate Rick Caruso.

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