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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey will avoid jail time, a judge ruled Thursday, and instead enter a diversion program after pointing a gun at Black Lives Matter members who demonstrated outside the couple’s home last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
David Lacey, 67, faced three misdemeanor charges of assault with a firearm in the March 2, 2020, incident, which occurred the day before his wife faced a contentious primary race. She ultimately lost the general election to George Gascón, the current district attorney.
Jackie Lacey offered an emotional apology at the time, saying her husband told her that he pulled the gun and told protesters to leave. She had faced threats as she sought a third term.
Lacey, the first Black person and first woman to run the nation’s largest local prosecutor’s office, had been targeted for nearly three years by Black Lives Matter protesters. They held weekly demonstrations outside her office calling for her ouster, saying she failed to hold law enforcement accountable in fatal shootings.
Last year, several protesters were outside the Lacey home in Grenada Hills before 6 a.m. Three rang the doorbell and David Lacey opened the door, pointed a gun at them and said, ”I will shoot you. Get off of my porch,” according to video of the incident shot by protesters.
David Lacey, who is also Black, was an investigative auditor with the district attorney's office until his 2016 retirement.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the judge's approval of David Lacey's request to enter a diversion program. If he performs 100 hours of community service and attends anger management and gun safety classes, his criminal case will be dismissed.
He is additionally barred from possessing a firearm for the duration of the agreement, which lasts 18 months, the newspaper reported. The handgun in last year's incident was turned over to police a few days later.
Under the charges brought by the state attorney general — which handled the case to avoid a conflict of interest by Jackie Lacey's office — each assault count carried a maximum possible sentence of a year in county jail, the Times reported. If he had been convicted, David Lacey also could have been barred from owning a firearm for a decade.
“We maintain David’s innocence. He was protecting his wife and family from the protesters the night of the incident,” his defense attorney, Sam Tyre, said in an email. “This diversion allows David to avoid any risks associated with a jury trial.”
Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and one of the people who was threatened, told the newspaper that David Lacey had been treated with “kid gloves.”
“It means that my life, the threat that he posed to my life, doesn’t mean anything,” she said.