Alameda Co. DA Pamela Price says she's being 'targeted' amid recall effort over progressive policies

"One of the challenges that I believe I was elected to take on as district attorney, is to eradicate the racial disparities."

Anser Hassan Image
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Alameda Co. DA says she's being 'targeted' for progressive policies
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Alameda County District Attorney Pamela says she's being targeted by groups who want to recall her for the progressive policies she was elected on.

SAN FRNCISCO (KGO) -- Amid a recall effort and accusations of being soft on crime, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price sat down with ABC7 News to discuss her first few months in office.

Anser Hassan: "How would you describe your experience thus far?"

Pamela Price: "It's an adventure. It's a great adventure. We came into a situation that was highly unstable. I prepared for the change that was about to come."

What has followed Price just nine months into the job has been criticism and backlash. But to her critics, she reminds them she was elected on a campaign of criminal justice reform.

FULL INTERVIEW: Alameda Co. DA Pamela Price talks first months in office

"If you go today to Alameda County's Juvenile Hall, you will only find Black and Brown children there. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of the challenges that I have taken on, and that I believe I was elected to take on as district attorney, is to eradicate the racial disparities," said Price.

She also points to the more than 8,000 cases that her office has charged.

Price says she has been reviewing county charging practices, such as doing away with enhancements, which she says Alameda County voters want as well.

RELATED: Alameda Co. DA Pamela Price tackles crime in Oakland at community forum

"We have invested in prisons versus education in California. And we are seeing the results of that. Enhancements have been shown to be racially biased and applied in a racially biased way. And enhancements, nationally, as people who looked at enhancements, they do not find that the longer sentences actually deter crime," said Price. "What we find is that it increases the possibility of recidivism."

She says she wants to make clear that reducing enhancements or special circumstances, such as in the Jasper Wu case, doesn't mean crimes are going unpunished. Jasper Wu was a child who was killed by stray bullets on I-880, as two men allegedly shot at a rival gang member, according to Price. The family raised concerns about Price's sentencing.

"When the media said she dropped the special circumstances, that part was true. But what they did not say was that we never dropped the gun or the gang enhancements. But the two men who we do believe were responsible for the shooting, one of them is facing 175 years to life. The other is facing 265 years to life," said Price.

However, allegations of Price being soft on crime have led to a recall effort. The group SAFE, or Save Alameda For Everyone, which is leading the recall effort, states on its website: "D.A. Price is failing us in her responsibility to enforce the law, prosecute criminals and keep violent offenders off our streets."

Those backing the recall are concerned with short-term sentencing, no enhancements, and removing special circumstances.

MORE: Oakland community seeks solutions to rising crime at safety meeting

Hassan: "Do you feel like you are being targeted?"

Price: "I know that I am being targeted. Progressive prosecutors across the country have been targeted by right-wing folks. We know that the people who lost the election didn't want us to be here. We challenged and defeated the status quo. So yes, I am very much a target."

Price's office is currently reviewing 2,500 cases that are eligible for resentencing in Alameda County under the new California Racial Justice Act. The ACLU describes the act as prohibiting the state, "from seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based upon race, ethnicity or national origin."

"We have hired over 100 people, which in this amount of time, is unheard of in government, and certainly for Alameda County. I am just proud of the job that we walked into here, no support, no transition, no plan, no soft landing. And yet we have managed to thrive," she says.

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