Woke Los Angeles DA George Gascón blames Union Pacific for freight train package thefts and blasts rail company's own security after Gov. Newsom admitted the railroad looked like a 'Third World country'

  • On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom visited a ravaged rail depot in the Lincoln Heights area of the city 
  • The Democrat lawmaker exclaimed: 'It looked like a third world country, these images, the drone images that were on the nightly news' 
  • In December, Union Pacific sent a letter to Gascón urging more aggressive prosecutions for cargo thieves and calling for an end to a no-bail policy 
  • UP said it experienced a 160 percent increase in criminal rail theft in LA County over the past year
  • Gascón's office previously said it was 'committed to working with law enforcement to ensure collective safety across LA´s sprawling infrastructure 
  • However, on Friday, Gascon wrote a strongly-worded letter back to Union Pacific saying they filed fewer criminal cases to his office than in 2019 and 2020 

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Progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón is firing back at a railroad company that has taken shots at him for not doing more to stop train burglaries in the area, despite the company's pleas for his office's assistance. 

This comes after Governor Gavin Newsom was disgusted by a ravaged rail depot - full of visible cardboard and other debris due to the thefts - in the Lincoln Heights area of the city that he visited and helped cleaned up. 

In December, rail company Union Pacific - which holds jurisdiction over crime on the rails - sent a letter to DA Gascón asking for more aggressive prosecutions for cargo thieves and an end to the no-bail policy for some defendants that Gascon wants to reduce overcrowding at jails during the pandemic.  

'These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than twenty-four hours. Criminals boast to our officers that charges will be pled down to simple trespassing - which bears no serious consequence,' the letter from UP's California director of public affairs Adrian Guerrero said. 

UP said it experienced a 160 percent increase in criminal rail theft in LA County over the past year.  

Gascón's office had previously said it was 'committed to working with law enforcement to ensure collective safety across Los Angeles County's sprawling infrastructure, whether it's at our ports or on railroad tracks.' 

'Some cases presented to our office by Union Pacific have been filed, such as burglary and grand theft, while others have been declined due to insufficient evidence. We make charging decisions based on the evidence. Our office takes Union Pacific's concerns seriously and hopes to discuss this issue more in the coming weeks,' said Alex Bastian, Special Advisor to Gascón.    

However, on Friday, Gascón wrote a strongly-worded letter back to Union Pacific saying they filed fewer criminal cases to his office than in 2019 and 2020. 

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is taking shots at a railroad company that begged for his help to stop train thefts

The shots were fired two days after Governor Gavin Newsom visited to help clean up the area Thursday

California Governor Gavin Newsom visits a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday. Newsom promised statewide coordination in going after thieves who have been raiding cargo containers aboard trains nearing downtown Los Angeles for months, leaving the tracks blanketed with discarded boxes

Stolen and discarded packages litter the tracks close to a freight rail depot in Downtown LA. California Highway Patrol said it was expanding its own retail theft task force that will allow it to beef up patrols and better coordinate with police, the sheriff's department and Union Pacific's security force to prevent further thefts and littering 

Workers bag cardboard and other discarded items at a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday

Newsom wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty in front of the cameras

Men look over a railing at a Union Pacific railroad site on Thursday in Los Angeles. Stolen packages can be seen discarded between the rails 

Newsom and officials from the California Department of Transportation toured the site in addition to cleaning up

'In 2019, 78 cases were presented for filing. In 2020, 56 cases were presented for filing. And in a sharp decline, in 2021, 47 such cases were presented for filing consideration, and over 55 percent were filed by my office,' Gascón said in his letter to UP. 

Gascón then turned to bashing Union Pacific's own security. 

'According to LAPD Deputy Chief Al Labrada, UP does little to secure or lock trains and has significantly decreased law enforcement staffing,' he wrote. 'It is very telling that other major railroad operations in the area are not facing the same level of theft at their facilities as UP.' 

The California Highway Patrol said Thursday it was expanding its own retail theft task force that will allow it to beef up patrols and better coordinate with police, the sheriff's department and Union Pacific's security force. Union Pacific and other railroad firms employ their own police forces accredited by the state to protect its rail lines. 

Union Pacific has about 1,600 employees in Los Angeles County and its own police department which has priority jurisdiction over crimes committed on the railroad. 

Newsom visited and helped clean up some of the trash Thursday, saying he could no longer bear to look at it. 

Caltrans workers were helping the effort to clear the tracks before Newsom arrived

The tracks Newsom surveyed and cleaned up were transporting FedEx, Amazon and UPS parcels

A California Highway Patrolman watches over the cleanup effort from Newsom and the other workers

California Governor Gavin Newsom, center, speaks to reporters wile visiting the site

The Democratic lawmaker exclaimed: 'It looked like a third world country, these images, the drone images that were on the nightly news.'

'I took off the suit and tie and said I'm coming because I couldn't take it,' he added. 'I can't turn on the news anymore. What the hell is going on?'

Gascón is under fire for failing to crack down on a recent spike in violence.

He won over voters last year with promises of sweeping criminal justice reforms that critics say put the interests of criminals before the safety of the community, Fox News reported.

Gascon said of rising crime rates: 'The reality is that we go through these cycles, and we go through the cycles for a variety of reasons … In many ways we cannot prosecute our way out of social inequalities, income inequalities, the unhoused, the desperation that we have.' 

Gascon is currently embroiled in a dispute over a transgender woman who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl, with the DA saying she could be allowed to serve her sentence under house arrest.

Separately, Gascon is facing another scandal after his own cops went over his head to ask federal prosecutors to charge the alleged killers of an off-duty LAPD officer.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva sought out the federal prosecution for the four gang members accused of killing Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, on January 10 over fears pursing them through Gascon could lead to lighter sentencing.

Last year, Gascon axed sentencing enhancements - such as membership of a gang - meaning that Arroyos' alleged killers would likely be eligible for parole in 25 years if convicted on state charges.

Gascon previously announced he had decided to no longer pursue sentencing enhancements in cases involving gangs as part of an increasingly controversial prison reform policy aimed at boosting 'equity.'

Newsom took time out to take a selfie with a California transit worker while on site

Newsom believes many of the packages are from stolen Christmas presents that never made their destination

Men look over a railing at the site, which is loaded with cardboard boxes and other decay along the tracks

Even heavy machinery was needed to help the Caltrans workers clean things up

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Woke LA DA George Gascon blames UNION PACIFIC for thefts from trains after Newsom cleanup

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