On Friday, SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin chose not to file charges against the SFPD officers who fired at Jesus Delgado-Duarte back in March of 2018 at 21st and Capp streets; Duarte, who fired only once, was blasted by 99 bullets and died instantly.
Reported by Mission Local's Julian Mark — whose work on police reform has led him to be recognized as an "outstanding emerging journalist for 2020" by the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California — Boudin's decision not to continue with charges against the ten involved SFPD officers responsible for the killing of Delgado-Duarte has been met with contempt and criticism. Though it's regarded on-site officers might have allegedly escalated the situation that preceded Delgado-Duarte’s death, Boudin decided the present evidence “supported the conclusion that the officers, in this case, acted in lawful self-defense when shooting Mr. Delgado-Duarte.”
This week is the first week of Black History Month, but we must devote every month to advancing racial equity and demonstrating that Black lives matter.— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) February 4, 2021
This toolkit for prosecutors by @IIP_JohnJay provides important guidance for prosecutors in doing so.https://t.co/j9ztRlbFd1
Boudin's choice to step away from pressing charges exists as a dichotomous backpedal from a prior 2019 promise he made to the Delgado-Duarte family during his run for DA of San Francisco.
“Your family gets justice the day I take office,” the now-acting district attorney told Delgado-Duarte's family circa October 2019 at a debate at Mission High School, per the local news outlet. In an interview with Mission Local, Boudin was quick to clarify his former remarks (which, to be frank, read as an editorialized, around-the-bush rebuttal against his own words).
"Justice is not as simple as whether we file charges in one case,” he adds. “Justice is about having independence, integrity, and compassion in every decision we make. And we have done that.”
Boudin in December did, however, begin the process of charging the involved SFPD officers in three other separate cases — which marked a first in San Francisco.
Nevertheless: police reform advocate Adriana Camarena, who's working with Delgado-Duarte's family, said to Mission Local that she remains “disappointed” and “baffled” by the DA's decision.
“Boudin promised his family justice,” Camarena waxed to Mark. “How’s this justice? And what the D.A. may not understand yet is that his decision sets our community to grieve Adolfo once again, alongside his family, with an unexpectedly renewed sense of disappointment in the role the D.A.’s office plays in perpetuating injustice.”
The DA's reviews also recently saw no wrongdoing by officers involved in the death of Christopher Kliment on January 5, 2019. The man was discharged from the California Pacific Medical Center’s Mission Bernal, but refused to leave the property; Kliment was later "wrestled" by on-site police who were summoned to restrain Kliment; as noted by the Chronicle, Kliment "lost consciousness and stopped breathing," police officials said of the incident.
In October of last year, two SFPD officers were involved in the police killing of 21-year-old carjacking suspect Cesar Antonio Vargas. During a virtual town hall held by the police department, public comment was welcomed. “It’s your job to keep people safe, not kill them,” one town hall attendee was heard saying, an opinion also expressed by an additional caller who added, “shooting someone doesn’t protect them.”
Image: Chesa Boudin wearing a The Future is Female shirt at 2019 Women’s march San Francisco. (Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via Steve Rhodes)