12 Years a Prosecutor, No More
An Open Letter to Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey
Madam District Attorney Jackie Lacey,
Reluctantly, I’m tendering my letter of resignation.
I’ve worked in this office for 12 years. When I interviewed for this job with your predecessor, Steve Cooley, he told me that I had one main job as a deputy district attorney: Do the right thing.
His statement strongly resonated with me because I personally understood the contentious relationship between the Black community and the criminal justice system. Not fully sold on taking the job when I received my offer, I spoke to Black prosecutors who were close friends of mine about their own experiences. I also asked them for their advice on what I should do. They told me, unequivocally, to take the job because righteous Black prosecutors are sorely needed to inspire greater confidence in the criminal justice system. They told me that prosecutors had the power to do a lot of good.
And so, I took the job.
I first met you at the end of my first year in the office. We had a big celebration and you approached me, calling out my name. With more than 1,000 deputy district attorneys in the office, I was impressed that you knew who I was. You congratulated me on completing my first year and told me that you were personally responsible for getting me hired. You said that there were people in the office who didn’t want to give me an offer because they thought that I’d reject it; they felt that I was “overqualified.” You used your power and influence to get them to extend an offer, confident that I’d accept it. When I heard that story, I immediately felt comfortable about my role as a prosecutor.
I was also buoyed by your rapid ascension to become the District Attorney. When you were first elected, I was ecstatic because I felt that real change would happen on so many levels. I remember when many of my colleagues denigrated you during that election, citing your lack of jury trial experience and management expertise. Many of these comments, made by people who now support you, were rooted in racism and sexism.
When you were elected, I didn’t outwardly gloat because I was so satisfied with your victory as the first African…