DA Gascón: El Monte PD Shootings “Politicized” From the Start

NBC4's Conan Nolan sits down with LA County DA for a one-on-one interview discussing his actions in response to the El Monte officer shootings.

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Embattled LA County District Attorney George Gascón says his office tried to contact the families of two slain El Monte Police officers shortly after the shootings but that his office was "walled off" from talking with them. 

 "The family is in pain, and I understand the narrative they have been given. Unfortunately this got politicized almost immediately," Gascón said in a broadcast television interview with NBC4's Conan Nolan Sunday.

Family members of Corporal Michael Parades and Officer Joseph Santana believe Gascón’s decision not to follow California’s “Three Strikes” law allowed convicted felon Justin Flores to escape prison on a weapons possession charge. 

Flores was on parole when he murdered the two police officers.

Shortly after the deadly shootout the DA sent out a message on Twitter expressing his condolences to the families of the slain officers. However he didn't speak of the incident in person until days later when his office was accused of mishandling Flores' criminal prosecution. 

"In retrospect should I have said something more forceful early on? Maybe. But then you would have asked me 'why were you politicizing this horrendous event,'" Gascón said.

Gascón was interviewed on NBC4's "News Conference" program.

A three judge California appellate court recently ruled against Gascón for his directives to prosecutors not to follow certain state sentencing laws.  

In a 71 page decision the court ruled the DA had overstated his authority and that Gascón was not a "sovereign with absolute" discretion.  

Gascón says the decision is somewhat unclear and is being reviewed by his office.

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