When you're an elected official who is accused of turning your back on police misconduct and supporting overly harsh criminal justice policies that target minorities, pulling a gun on Black Lives Matters protesters who show up at your house is perhaps not the best look one day before an election.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey wasn't the person who pulled the gun. It was her husband, David. Still, it's pretty much the last image of the Lacey campaign that L.A. voters are left with as they head to the polls today.
Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey's husband pointed a gun at @DocMellyMel's chest and said "I will shoot you."
Is this what Lacey meant when she promised a community meeting with @BLMLA?
— Real Justice (@RealJusticePAC) March 2, 2020
Lacey, who faces a very tough re-election vote, has faced protesters who believe she hasn't brought nearly enough reform as a prosecutor to Los Angeles County. Critics are also upset that she continues to support the death penalty. Furthermore, she's under attack for failing to hold law enforcement agents accountable for misconduct and shootings, including in a 2015 case where former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck recommended charges against an officer who killed a homeless man in Venice. Lacey declined to bring those charges.
Dissatisfaction with Lacey's approach drew San Francisco D.A. George Gascón to resign from his position in October and challenge her for the Los Angeles position. (In January, San Francisco voters selected deputy public defender and reformer Chesa Boudin to office rather than Mayor London Breed's interim replacement.)
Black Lives Matter activists have been protesting Lacey regularly and working toward her defeat today. On Monday they showed up at her home. When some of those activists knocked on her door, David answered. He was armed and pointed his gun at them. "I will shoot you," he told them. "Get off of my porch."
In the video of the incident, you can hear drumming after he closes the door on them. Then somebody yells, "We're here for the community meeting, Jackie Lacey," as though that's a thing that was actually going to happen at that time of day, even if she were amenable. The gun obviously didn't scare them that much.
Lacey has complained about being harassed and receiving threats in the past. The Los Angeles Times reports that a group of 30 protesters arrived before dawn Monday at her home, in an attempt to force an awkward confrontation that could then be used against her, which seems to be exactly what happened.
For her part, Lacey has used these confrontations as an excuse for pulling back from participation in some debates and to avoid meeting with Black Lives Matter activists.
It is, of course, "bad optics" for Lacey's husband to pull a gun on her critics, though some voters will probably respect his grumpy "Get off my porch" response—minus the gun. Lacey has apologized for the incident but has also complained that it's not "fair or right for protesters to show up at the home of people who dedicate their lives to public service."