‘Forgive me’: Newsom apologizes for saying ‘gangs’ while touring LA’s ‘third-world’ cityscape

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(Video Credit: KCRA News)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Union Pacific railroad in Los Angeles on Thursday for a gratuitous photo-op that showed him cleaning up the scene where a train was looted and then proceeded to blame “gangs” for the crime, only to apologize and call them “groups” instead.

“I’m asking myself, what the hell is going on? We look like a third-world country,” Newsom said to reporters, according to Politico.

The Democratic governor told reporters that his office has devised a plan to stop the “organized gangs” of criminals before quickly apologizing for using the term “gangs.”

“This is not one-off. This is organized theft,” he remarked. “These are organized gangs of people that are coming out, and forgive me for saying gangs, that’s not a pejorative. “

“’There’s a burden of responsibility and all of us share that, and that’s why I’m here,’ Newsom asserted. “‘I don’t think anyone particularly cares about who to blame*, I think they care about what we’re going to do,'” Politico reporter Jeremy B. White tweeted. “’My frustration with this in particular is the images look like a third-world country,’ repeats @GavinNewsom, clearly concerned about how California is perceived.”

Newsom’s concern over offending gang members struck many as odd, especially considering the monumental circumstances.

Newsom visited the site following a string of organized train robberies where thousands of packages are said to have been stolen in the past several months. Theft spiked so radically that it prompted Union Pacific to write an urgent letter to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon blaming the rise in crime on his no-cash bail policy.

The letter, which was dated Dec. 20, 2020, indicated that “on average, over 90 containers are compromised per day.” It also noted a 160 percent increase in criminal rail theft in Dec. 2020 and a 356 percent increase from Oct. 2020 to Oct. 2021.

In addition, the letter stated that over 100 arrests have been made in connection to train vandalism, with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and California Highway Patrol getting involved in the cases.

“Even with all the arrests made, the no-cash bail policy and extended timeframe for suspects to appear in court is causing re-victimization to [Union Pacific] by these same criminals,” the letter points out. “Without any judicial deterrence or consequence, it is no surprise that over the past year [Union Pacific] has witnessed the significant increase in criminal rail theft described above.”

The district attorney’s office responded to the letter and released a statement to CBS Los Angeles investigative reporter Kristine Lazar, who shared the statement on Twitter.

The district attorney’s office claims they are working with law enforcement to “ensure safety” and are “making charging decisions based on evidence.”

Lupe Valdez, who is a spokeswoman for Union Pacific said the situation was “just unheard of” and that consumers are “paying the price,” according to CBS Los Angeles.

Newsom also announced a state-level initiative that will ostensibly combat the threat of rail theft and assist Union Pacific in cleaning up the area.

“Caltrans crews will assist Union Pacific in their efforts over the next few days to clean up the impacted area,” his office stated in a press release. “Additionally, the California Highway Patrol will continue its efforts to coordinate with local law enforcement to help prevent theft on railways in Los Angeles.”

Newsom stated that 280 people have been arrested and more are being sought for the theft through the help of the newly formed retail task force and law enforcement. The stolen packages are from retailers including Amazon, REI, and many others.

“A lot of this stuff ends up on platforms you shop on. I promise you, all of you. Some of you have bought some of this stuff that was not in those boxes because they ended up on some online platform at a remarkably discounted price. Did you ever ask yourself how anyone makes money at that remarkably discounted price? Across the spectrum, we have to do a better job,” the governor admonished.

“What has happened on this stretch of the Union Pacific railroad is unacceptable,” Newsom declared. “We are committed to an all-of-government approach to prevent thefts, prosecute the criminals involved, and clean up local communities.”

Unfortunately, after the criminals are arrested, charges are usually reduced to a misdemeanor and the thieves are back on the streets in less than 24 hours able to loot again.

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