Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey has said that her husband is “profoundly sorry” after disturbing video showed him pointing a gun at protesters who went to their home early Monday morning in an attempt to speak with her.
The video shows a man, who Lacey later identified as her husband David Lacey, pointing a handgun at a group of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters. “I will shoot you,” David Lacey is heard saying in the footage. “Get off of my porch.”
BLM Los Angeles has been critical of Lacey over her handling handled multiple officer-involved shootings. One of the most notable incidents was the shooting of Ezell Ford, an unarmed, mentally ill black man who was killed by police in 2014. Lacey’s office decided not to prosecute the officers involved in the shooting. In 2017, Lacey said that the critics of her decision should review the facts of the Ford case. “You have an officer who honestly believes that he’s about to be killed,” Lacey said, according to the LA Times. “He has the right to defend himself.”
In another instance, Lacey declined to bring charges against an LAPD officer who in 2015 shot and killed Brendon Glenn, an unarmed black homeless man; at the time, former LAPD police chief Charlie Beck even called for the officer to be prosecuted.
Protesters arrived at the Laceys’ home on Monday morning at around 5:40 a.m. PT and knocked on the door. Lacey says that her and her husband were awoken by their arrival. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, she added that they called the police to let them know that there might be protesters outside. While she stayed upstairs, her husband went down to confront them.
“We expect that people will exercise their First Amendment right, but our home is our sanctuary,” Lacey told reporters at the press conference. “I do not believe it is fair or right for protesters to show up at the homes of people who dedicate their lives to public service.” She added that, during her time as district attorney, she has received death threats, and on numerous occasions been followed and confronted while with her family.
At a press conference shortly after Lacey’s, activists with the Los Angeles BLM chapter said that David Lacey’s actions were not warranted.
“We are here today because this morning, in an effort to exercise our First Amendment right, we were threatened,” Greg Akili, an organizer with BLM Los Angeles said. “What we express in our position and opposition to Jackie Lacey should not be met with threats to our lives.”
Akili explained that activists have been protesting Lacey for over two years, and have made multiple unsuccessful attempts to meet with her but that she has never responded. During her press conference, Jackie Lacey had said that she has extended invitations to meet with BLM but that they have been rejected. (“There is no evidence of that that we have,” Akili said of those purported invitations.)
Lacey, who is LA county’s first black district attorney, is currently running for a third term. The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday.
One of her opponents in the race, former public defender Rachel Rossi, shared the video on Twitter and said in a post that she would never threaten to shoot community members “protesting for change.”
“What kind of leadership is this?” Rossi said.