The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, led by DA George Gascon, is facing public pressure to reconsider its initial refusal to file felony charges against a man caught on video attempting to rape a woman on a Long Beach sidewalk. The incident, which occurred in broad daylight on October 20, was followed by an arrest of the homeless suspect. Despite the disturbing nature of the evidence, the DA’s office originally concluded there wasn’t enough to pursue a felony charge.
In the wake of a viral news segment by ABC 7 Eyewitness News highlighting the threat of serial violence near Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority train stops, the community outcry has escalated. Additional pressure came after a broadcast by Fox 11 News and further reporting by ABC that sparked widespread concern, amassing over half a million views.
Responding to this growing concern and a direct request from the Long Beach City Attorney, the district attorney’s office is now undertaking a fresh review of the case, including new evidence and witness testimony that emerged following their preliminary decision. This move reflects a shift from their earlier stance, which resulted in a misdemeanor sexual battery charge by the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office – the most severe charge the city can impose due to jurisdictional limits.
The suspect, whose prior record added gravity to the crime, originally faced a bail request of $150,000 from the city prosecutor, though this amount was later reduced by a judge to $75,000.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, currently campaigning for Gascon’s position in the upcoming 2024 election, criticized the need for external forces to influence the filing of appropriate charges in such a blatant case of sexual assault.
The district attorney’s office has expressed its intention to conduct a thorough review based on the newly provided information, signaling a possible escalation of charges. The arrested individual awaits a pretrial hearing on November 8, remaining in custody until then.