Even the politically connected will be prosecuted…

Even the husband of the District Attorney for Los Angeles can be prosecuted for poor decisions while using his pistol defend his family!

What’s happening?

As Politico reported, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is charging the husband of LA’s District Attorney with three misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

What happened?

In March 2020, protesters surrounded the home of LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey to demand her resignation. Several of the protesters made their way onto the front porch. At least one activist “knocked” on the front door. Mr David Lacey, fearing for his family’s safety, opened the front door with a gun in his hand. According to well known Black Lives Matter leader, Melinda Abdullah, Mr Lacey “pulled a gun and pointed it at my chest”.

Linked snapshot of Twitter video of the incident

In the video, it appears that Mr Lacey had his finger on the trigger, and said “Get off of my porch … I’ll shoot you, I don’t care who you are.”

Melinda Abdullah was recording the incident and posted that recording to Twitter. Months later, the video was brought to the Attorney General’s office, and Mr Lacey has been charged.

What could have been done differently?

Admitting that acting as an armchair quarterback is always easier than being live in the moment. It is always easier to determine “what should have been done” than to figure out what to do when you’re living it. That said, doing mental exercises like analyzing what happens to others increases the likelihood that you will do it better, should you find yourself in similar circumstances.

The following are things I propose Mr. Lacey could have done better:

  • I would have recommended that Mr. Lacey call 911 to report the threats on his family. Even if first responders never showed up to assist, 911 records all calls. This makes them a valuable witness if things end up in court.
  • Next I would have suggested he yell through the door without opening it. This provides sufficient volume for the 911 recording. It also maintains a barrier between his family and potential attackers/protesters. Finally, this prevents anybody’s camera from recording the gun in his hand, or any other potential evidence for prosecution.
  • Finally, I would insist that Mr. Lacey restrict his proclamations to defensive phrasing like “leave my family alone”, “we don’t want any trouble”, or “I will defend my family if I have to”. Avoid statements like “I will shoot you”, or “I will kill you”, etc.
  • If Mr. Lacey saw something that he felt required direct intervention (fire on the porch, spray cans, baseball bats, etc), he should have made the gun ready and stepped onto the porch with it in a holster. In the absence of a holster, Mr. Lacey should have been holding the pistol at “low ready”, or pointed at the ground. This is permitted on one’s own property, and does not represent a direct assault. That doesn’t mean a prosecutor could not try to make it into an assault. That is why I suggest avoiding direct confrontation if possible.

Wrapping it up!

California does not consider defense of property to be sufficient justification to endanger the lives of others. Vandals are permitted to do anything to your property, as long as it does not endanger your life or that of your family or residents of your home. If your property is stolen or damaged, you will need to pursue legal restitution and/or insurance reimbursement.

For that matter, any time you point a gun at anybody, you should expect legal consequences. Even if your life is in danger, you will be expected to prove it.

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