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Multimillion-Dollar Campaign Threatens To Recall California Prosecutor

What is a now a multimillion-dollar campaign to recall the elected prosecutor in Alameda County, California, began just six months after she took office.  When Pamela Price won office in 2022, she became the first district attorney in Alameda County, which includes Oakland, in decades who hadn’t risen through the ranks of the DA’s office. Instead, Price was a former defense and civil rights attorney focused on reforming the criminal justice system and holding police accountable for misconduct, the Intercept reports. Now, with the recall effort against her gaining steam, Price is calling out the double standard against her office, denouncing the focus on crime as the perpetuation of a racist tropes. “There is obviously no place where racism has been so accepted than in the criminal justice system,” she said. “When we talk about crime in America — for decades, if not centuries — crime has been a euphemism for race. And to be afraid of crime is synonymous often for many people with being afraid of Black people or being afraid of brown people.”


Police unions spent heavily against Price in 2018, when she first took on her predecessor, Nancy O’Malley, who had held office for a decade without facing a challenger. In June, a grand jury found that O’Malley violated county policies during the 2018 election by soliciting campaign funds from police unions. Price lost to O’Malley in 2018 but beat one of her deputies in 2022 to become the first Black woman to serve as Alameda County’s district attorney. It was under O’Malley’s tenure that homicides in Oakland first spiked, but Price’s opponents say they want to recall her because her reform policies have driven crime in the city, one of the 14 cities in the county. Price told The Intercept that those behind the recall campaign did not take the same tack against O’Malley when crime rose during her time in office — and that some of the cases she is being blamed for were handled by O’Malley. Price acknowledged that violence remains an issue that she wants to tackle in office and said her policies are designed to allocate more resources toward the most serious crimes. She said, however, she has a problem with the way O’Malley never received the same scrutiny, criticism, or vitriol about crime during her tenure. “If you did not hold Nancy O’Malley accountable, it is not fair for you to now be in the public eye suggesting to the public that I’m doing something wrong,” Price said.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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