Lacey’s husband yelled, “Get off of my porch!”
Abdullah said, “Good morning,” and then, “Are you gonna shoot me?”
“I will shoot you,” he replied firmly. “Get off of my porch.”
The dramatic encounter was captured in a video viewed more than 380,000 times on the eve of California’s primary election, as Lacey aims to hang onto her seat in the face of criticism of her handling of police shootings of people of color and cases involving high-profile political figures. Abdullah said Black Lives Matter had been trying to meet with Lacey for months to discuss those issues, but that Lacey kept avoiding them.
“So this morning, what we decided to do was have the meeting,” she said.
The group carpooled over to Lacey’s home in Granada Hills from South Los Angeles before dawn, setting up lawn chairs on the sidewalk before ringing the doorbell. After greeting three of the protesters on his porch with a gun, Lacey’s husband, David, ultimately slammed the door on the group, saying he was calling the police. The police arrived but no arrests were made, and Lacey ultimately left for work with a police escort without acknowledging the group, Abdullah said.
She acknowledged them later, at an emotional news conference in which she both apologized for her husband’s actions while condemning the protesters’ decision to disturb her at home. David Lacey is a retired investigative auditor for the district attorney’s office, a spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times.
“His response was in fear, and now that he realizes what happened, he wanted me to say to the protesters … that he was sorry, that’s he’s profoundly sorry,” said Lacey (D). “It was just him and I in our house, and we really didn’t know what was about to happen. I too am sorry if anybody was harmed. It’s never my intent to harm any protester. I just want to live in peace and do my job.”
Lacey, who said she had been receiving threats from unspecified people, questioned why protesters in Los Angeles and beyond have continued showing up at public servants’ or political figures’ homes to criticize them.
In recent weeks, for example, supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential contender, have gathered outside the homes of the Democratic Party chairmen in Nevada and California with a bullhorn to demand there be no “shenanigans” during the election. Last month, a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle stood outside the home of Virginia Del. Mark H. Levine (D-Alexandria) to protest an assault weapons ban he sponsored.
“We expect that people will exercise their First Amendment right, but our home is our sanctuary, and we do not believe — I do not believe — it is fair or right for protesters to show up at the homes of people who dedicate their lives to public service,” Lacey said.
Lacey claimed she had offered to meet with Black Lives Matter but insisted on one-on-one meetings or a small group, claiming the group rejected her offers. “It seems like what they like is to embarrass me, and to intimidate me,” she said.
But Abdullah pushed back on Lacey’s claims that she has offered to meet, saying the reason Lacey won’t meet with them is because “she doesn’t want to be yelled at by the mothers of those who have been killed.”
Lacey, the county’s first black district attorney and first woman to hold the position, has filed criminal charges against police in two officer-involved shootings out of more than 500 since she was elected in 2012, according to a January article in Los Angeles magazine. That record has made her unpopular among progressive activist groups such as Black Lives Matter.
Abdullah, who is also a professor in Pan-African studies at California State University at Los Angeles, said Black Lives Matter created a list of Lacey’s “seven deadly sins.” Chief among them is the lack of prosecution in police shootings but also her failures in the case of Ed Buck, a high-profile Democratic donor and LGBT activist in California who had allegedly been preying on men vulnerable to addiction or homelessness for years without consequences.
Police say at least three men overdosed in his apartment, where Buck had allegedly brought them for drug-fueled sexual encounters. Two black men died, in July 2017 and January 2019. But despite pressure from social justice groups to prosecute Buck following both deaths, Lacey declined to prosecute him in both cases until after a third man overdosed in September.
Black activists were outraged, and an attorney for the victim’s family suggested authorities would have acted differently if the men who died were white. Only federal prosecutors have charged Buck in the two deaths, while the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged him with operating a drug den.
Abdullah said that, after months of failed meetings with Lacey, they felt they “didn’t have a choice” but to go to her home to confront her. She said she found Lacey’s Monday address to the news media “shameful.”
“I think it’s shameful how she cast herself as the victim when we were the ones who had a gun pointed at us by her husband,” Abdullah said.
Lacey, a career prosecutor in Los Angeles, will face off Tuesday against George Gascón, the former San Francisco district attorney, and Rachel Rossi, a former Los Angeles County public defender. The Los Angeles Times has described the race as “reform vs. tradition,” with both of Lacey’s challengers positioning themselves as the more progressive candidates better positioned to enact criminal justice reform.