Meet the DA

This video also is available in SpanishChineseKorean and Armenian.

George Gascón is the 43rd District Attorney for Los Angeles County. His historic campaign was endorsed by the Democratic Party, the LA Times and the LA Daily News, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, labor leader and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and former Chief of the LAPD Charlie Beck. On Dec. 7, 2020, he was sworn in as the 43rd District Attorney of Los Angeles.

In 1967, George Gascón, then 13, boarded a “freedom flight” with his mother and father from Havana, Cuba to Miami.  They had nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a change of underwear that they carried in a cardboard suitcase. Within a week his family moved to Southeast Los Angeles to settle in Cudahy.

As a monolingual Spanish speaker, Gascón struggled to keep up with schoolwork and he ultimately dropped out of high school and started bagging groceries.  Once he turned 18, Gascón joined the army and quickly became the youngest sergeant in his brigade.  He earned his high school degree while simultaneously taking college extension courses, and after earning a four-year degree in history from Cal State Long Beach, Gascón got a job as a patrol officer in the Hollywood division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Over the next three decades, he worked his way up the ranks of the LAPD from patrol officer to Assistant Chief of Police under Bill Bratton.  As Assistant Chief he oversaw operations for the more than 9,000 officers in the LAPD, overseeing major homicide and gang investigations and weeding out corruption following the infamous Rampart scandal. Then, in 2006, he was tapped to be Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, where he stood up to the hateful and anti-immigrant policies of then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In 2009, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gascón to be San Francisco’s Chief of Police. In 2011, when then-District Attorney Kamala Harris vacated her seat after being elected California Attorney General, Newsom tapped Gascón once again to be San Francisco District Attorney. Gascón was re-elected San Francisco District Attorney twice.

Gascón was the first Latino to hold the office in San Francisco, and the nation’s first police chief to become District Attorney.  In the many positions Gascón has held throughout his career—from Assistant Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona, Chief of Police in San Francisco, and, most recently, District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco—his commitment to fairness, service, and public safety has remained steadfast.

Gascón has led the growing movement of progressive prosecutors. As San Francisco’s District Attorney, Gascón reduced the jail population by nearly 30% while simultaneously reducing violent crime to historic lows, showing that we can simultaneously lower incarceration rates without compromising public safety. Furthermore, Gascón was the first DA in the country to call for an end of cash bail, the first DA in the country to launch an automatic record clearing program for marijuana convictions following legalization, and the only DA in CA to support a state law that created a stricter standard for when police can use deadly force. Gascón never shied away from holding the powerful accountable, creating the state’s first independent investigation bureau to enhance transparency and limit the conflict of interest that occurs when police investigate themselves in the aftermath of a critical incident.  As DA he prosecuted more than double the national average of sexual assault cases while successfully fighting to test every backlogged rape kit.

Gascón has earned a national reputation as a visionary in criminal justice reform. Today, Gascón, and his work, are defined by the same notions of fairness, public safety, service, and critical thought that have been consistent throughout his life. In addition to his criminal justice work at the local, state, and national levels, Gascón has worked on public safety initiatives in Latin America and the Middle East. He is a board member of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute, and a member of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.

After serving two terms as San Francisco’s District Attorney, Gascón returned to Los Angeles to care for his elderly mother and to be closer to his daughters and grandchildren in Long Beach. He entered the race for District Attorney in order to enhance safety and the livability of Los Angeles, and bring equal justice to his hometown.

Gascón is married to Fabiola Kramsky, a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and recipient of the “Premio Nacional de Periodismo,” the highest recognition given to journalists in Mexico. District Attorney Gascón holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western State University, College of Law. 

December 2020