Jonathan Hatami, the Los Angeles deputy district attorney known for convicting child killers in high-profile cases, including those of Gabriel Fernandez and Anthony Avalos, announced on Wednesday a campaign challenge against his boss, George Gascon.
Gascon, a controversial progressive Democrat who has been accused of soft-on-crime policies that protect criminals and not the public, has faced sharp criticism from his own office and is involved in several lawsuits against his own deputies, including more than a dozen for allegations of unlawful retaliation.
“Because of George, L.A. is the hate crime capital of America,” Hatami said at a rally in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier, where he initially pledged to stand up to Gascon two years ago. “Fentanyl deaths are skyrocketing and killing our children, crime on public transportation has dramatically increased, and gun violence in our streets has affected so many of the most vulnerable in our communities. These aren’t just statistics – they are real people!”
Hatami gained prominence in 2017 as the lead prosecutor in the Gabriel Fernandez case – an 8-year-old boy who was abused and murdered by his own parents. And earlier this month, he secured convictions against 10-year-old Anthony Avalos’ mother and her boyfriend, who had tortured and killed him in 2018.
If elected, he promised to roll back dozens of directives initiated by Gascon that critics have cited as coddling criminals and putting crime victims last.
“The victims feel like they’re abandoned,” Hatami told Fox News Digital. “They feel like George Gascon cares more about the criminal… and his actions say that.”
He made his campaign announcement flanked by the parents of crime victims and families who have lost loved ones to what he called “fentanyl poisoning and street takeovers,” as well as the relatives of fallen police officers.