By CBSLA Staff

WHITTIER (CBSLA) — Supporters of an effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón plan to gather in Whittier Thursday night and collect signatures to push the movement forward.

Supporters of the recall effort, which includes some families of crime victims, believe Gascón is too lenient on criminals. Last month, the Los Angeles County Registrar approved the petition to recall Gascón, campaign officials said.

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“George Gascon got elected by disguising a radical, dangerous, and pro-criminal agenda as ‘criminal justice reform,’ but that’s not what he is doing,” Desiree Andrade, organizer and spokesperson for the Recall George Gascon campaign, said in a press release at the time. “What he failed to mention was that he would cater to the most heinous offenders in our society at the expense of victims and let cold-blooded killers back onto our streets.

Proponents of the recall have been given 160 days from the approval to collect signatures from 579,062 registered L.A. County voters. The registrar then has 30 days to certify the signatures. If successful, a recall election would likely take place in 2022.

Victims of Violent Crime for the Recall of District Attorney Gascon, which has been organizing the recall effort, said it would formally kick-off the petition drive in the coming days with a press conference at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.

“The outpouring of support for the recall movement and our fight to bring justice for victims has truly been amazing and is growing everyday as more residents learn about the destructive real-world impacts of Gascon’s policies,” Tania Owen, co-chair for the Recall George Gascon campaign, said in a release. “George Gascon has turned his back on victims and is failing to protect his constituents, so we are taking matters into our own hands.”

According to the group, the effort has the support of crime victims and their families, victims’ rights advocates, former law enforcement officials and current and former prosecutors.

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Gascón has repeatedly come under fire for his policies since taking office last December after beating incumbent Jackie Lacey.

Thursday a news conference was held by The Coalition for Community Control Over the Police to demand Gascón open an investigation into the death of 23-year-old Mikeona Johnson, a mother of two children who was reported missing on Sept. 9, 2020, and found dead a week later.

Most recently, Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami slammed the office’s decision to not seek the death penalty in the killing of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos.

The group has until Oct. 27, 2021 to collect signatures on a petition posted on its website.

Following the announcement, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzalez issued a statement that said, in part:

“Democrats and voters across Los Angeles overwhelming supported DA Gascon in November, and voted to support policies that will hold criminals accountable, allow for restorative justice, and would move our failing criminal justice system forward into the 21st century. Now the same failed proponents, with the help of misinformation, attempting to oust the Governor are going after the newly elected DA. … If this is the playbook when a small minority of people and republicans want to use when they don’t get their way, wasting taxpayer money and time, then we’ll crack open ours to continue to fight these recalls to nowhere.”

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The District Attorney’s Office did not immediately release a public statement on the effort.