Gavin Newsom says Fresno DA ‘should be ashamed’ for criticizing him amid officer’s killing

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp traded verbal jabs Wednesday over the killing of Selma police officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr., allegedly by a felon who got out of prison early.

Accused of fatally shooting Carrasco is Nathaniel Dixon, a 23-year-old man who was on probation as part of California’s AB 109 law, commonly called prison realignment.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Smittcamp expressed her condolences to the family of the slain officer and the Selma Police Department.

But she also took aim at what she calls a “warped system that allows active and violent criminals to receive arbitrary time credits.”

She blamed Newsom and other legislators for the changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

“Dangerous criminals are being released from our prison system by these accelerated and exaggerated time credits and numerous opportunities for early releases. When they get out, they are empowered to continue and intensify their violent behaviors, as they have not had enough consequences or treatment,” she said.

“They are released without significant punishment,rehabilitation programming, or educational opportunities. This madness is creating more victims and, furthermore, it is not serving the people who are committing the crimes.”

Newsom, who has been criticized before by Smittcamp and other district attorneys, was irritated by her comments.

“I’m sick and tired of being lectured by her on public safety,” he said, while speaking at a news conference about gun laws on Wednesday.

Newsom added, “With all due respect to her statement, she should be ashamed of herself and she should look in the mirror.”

A spokesperson for the governor said Smittcamp chose not to charge Dixon for his earlier crimes to the full extent of the law, which would have ensured that he spent decades in prison.

What court records say

California’s prison realignment law, passed in 2011 under then-Gov. Jerry Brown, is designed to divert people convicted of less serious felonies to local county jails or to mandatory supervision through the Post Release Community Supervision program, or PRCS.

Dixon’s criminal history includes charges for firearms possession, robbery and drug possession, court records show.

In 2020, he pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Three other felonies — possession of a controlled substance while armed, carrying a loaded firearm in public and carrying a concealed firearm — were dropped by Smittcamp’s office, according to court records.

Through the accumulation of time credits calculated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Dixon exited prison early after only serving six months.

Smittcamp did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Gonzalo Carrasco Jr., 24, was the Selma officer slain in the line of duty on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Gonzalo Carrasco Jr., 24, was the Selma officer slain in the line of duty on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.