In recent months we’ve covered the turbulent tenure of California’s Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, whose unyielding progressive and “restorative justice” policies have outraged both the families of crime victims and the public at large to where a recall campaign has launched, an effort Price has bizarrely labeled akin to January 6. Price has, during her time in office, rebuffed most all interview requests by local media, an oddity since said media, based in San Francisco and Oakland, leans so far left that the only thing keeping it individually and collectively from toppling over is the fog blowing in across San Francisco Bay.
Since the recall campaign began, Price has partially rescinded her no-interview policy yet remains incapable of open discussion in even the most favorable scenarios. Such was the case on July 17, when reporter Betty Yu from KPIX in San Francisco obtained an interview. As the report shows, Price and her handler can’t allow honest discussion.
When an interview starts in this fashion, you know it will not go well.
YU: Family members of victims are saying that the decisions you have made are unfair to them, that sentences that criminals have been given are excessively lenient, and the perpetrators are favored over victims. What’s your response to that?
PRICE: I feel … definitely my heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones in this community. Who is … we at the District Attorney’s office are very very committed to making sure that we’re providing the best services. Some people are … are not able to actually appreciate the work that we do.
One is rendered near speechless by such arrogance in the face of loss via crime. But Price’s arrogance and callousness aren’t unprecedented; Los Angeles County DA George Gascon called a mother whose son had been murdered “uneducated” when she confronted him publicly about his handling of her son’s killer’s case.
A story Yu reported on May 31 warrants mention. Twenty-six-year-old Blake Mohs, a Home Depot loss prevention employee working at the Pleasanton (CA) store, was murdered on the job on April 18 by a shoplifter. Price and her office have actively avoided Mohs’ family.
Since his death, the family said Price has never reached out. It was only after consistent outreach on their part that a DA assigned to the case responded.
“The phone call was that Pamela Price was not going to meet with us, she was not going to have a conversation with us, and we discussed my concerns about the charges, and we were not being kept in the loop with my victim’s advocate along with the DA’s office,” Mohs said.
Blake’s parents Lorie and Eric were told Price had a full schedule until mid-June. Still, they said the office did not proceed to schedule a meeting.
Further, the charges filed against Mohs’ alleged murderer are astonishingly minimal.
They also learned that both suspects are felons.
“[Accused murderer Benicia] Knapps is facing murder charges, and something called Little Gun, which means 5 years,” Mohs said. “It’s not robbery, it’s not intent to rob, and there are no special circumstances or enhancements being added at all, and we were told by the DA that is on our case that we should expect none, because it is the policy of Pamela Price to not add enhancements or special circumstances. It doesn’t make any logical sense in my heart, in my space or anything.”
Back to the July 17 interview of Price by Yu. As Yu reported, the interview was once interrupted and then cut short by Price’s PR person, the third person to hold the position since Price took office six months ago. When Yu attempted to bring up the Blake Mohs case, Price first refused to listen to Yu read Mohs’ mother’s comments and then refused to watch a video of Mohs’ mother’s words. Price declined to address any specific cases but rattled off statistics which to her insisted that the justice system is inherently racially biased. Price added:
That’s why I think the Legislature has given us the mandate under the Racial Justice Act that all District Attorneys are required to implement to eliminate the racial disparity.
Actually, that’s not what the Act says.
The state shall not seek or obtain a criminal conviction or seek, obtain, or impose a sentence on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin.
The law continues, adding that exhibition of racial bias during a trial is grounds for a mistrial, new trial, and so on.
The interview concluded in this fashion.
YU: In your pursuit of achieving equity, it is favoring perpetrators over victims. Is that correct?
PRICE: It’s absolutely not true. Often, what studies have shown — and it’s true in Alameda County — many times, people who are perpetrators … are labeled as perpetrators were actually victims.
At this point, Price’s PR person cut the interview short. When Yu expressed the hope of further interviews, Price laughed as she replied, “I doubt it, quite frankly.”