Los Angeles County residents across the political spectrum, fearing rising crime, unified to support recalling their district attorney, George Gascon, Deputy DA Jon Hatami told Fox News.
"Today really is, I believe, the beginning of the end of George Gascon," Hatami said after the Recall campaign submitted 717,000 signatures supporting a vote to remove the DA. The group needs the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters to verify nearly 567,000 to trigger a recall vote.
"People are scared. They're concerned for their safety," Hatami said. "We have a city and a county that is lawless. We have a city and a county where people feel they can do whatever they want and not be held accountable for their actions."
Crime against children, people of color and low-income communities has skyrocketed under Gascon's leadership, Hatami said. Since this time last year, violent crime in Los Angeles has increased by 8%, while total arrests decreased by nearly 12%, according to the city's police department.
"We all have a right to public safety. We all have a right to be safe in our homes," Hatami said.
"Part of being an American and being in this country is freedom," he continued. "When you have crime, basically, that prevents you from having freedom."
San Francisco's progressive DA, Chesa Boudin, was voted out of office last month after a successful, multi-year recall effort. Gascon's recall will be "worse," a spokesperson for the LA recall campaign previously told Fox News.
Gascon is unsympathetic to victims and victims' families while often siding with criminals, Hatami said. The DA faced criticism last month after two El Monte police officers were killed.
"Gascon is just letting all these criminals out, and they just keep doing one crime after the other," the mother of one of the slain officers, Olga Garcia, said.
The man accused of killing the officers had previously been arrested for a separate crime some months earlier. Prosecutors under the previous DA sought 32 months in prison for the suspect, but a directive Gascon issued potentially allowed him to receive a lighter sentence, Fox News previously reported.
"That guy should have been in jail," Garcia said. "If he wouldn’t have been out, my son and the other officer would still be here."
Gascon said at a press conference after the officers were killed: "We have an imperfect system. And that's not only here in L.A. It's everywhere. I know this is frustrating to hear, and it may not help heal the wounds for some. We do not serve our community when we try to pretend that we can predict 100% of the time when these cases are going to … occur."
The rising crime in Los Angeles has galvanized voters, according to Hatami.
"The fact of the matter is, is we all came together – Republicans, Democrats, Independents … and we joined forces and we got those signatures," Hatami told Fox News. "We're one step closer to getting George Gascon out of office."
The Registrar of Voters should have the results of the signature verification by mid-August, according to Hatami.
Louis Casiano, Bill Melugin, Audrey Conklin and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.