SF Mayor London Breed had some words of warning to criminals, particularly violent ones, on Wednesday as she announced a change in how law enforcement communicates about repeat offenders.
As outcries grow among SF residents over both a rash of petty crime and several instances of repeat offenders being out free to re-offend in more violent or extreme ways, the mayor announced that police and the DA's office would increase their monitoring of parolees and repeat offenders.
In comments recorded by ABC 7 on Wednesday, Breed seemed to be addressing criminals who come into San Francisco from elsewhere around the Bay to commit crimes — even though several high-profile incidents recently involved suspects who live here.
"When you come to San Francisco with the expectation to harm somebody here in this city, there will be consequences," Breed said. "So really don't come to our city with all that bullshit because we're not having it."
Breed was doing a walking tour and press event Wednesday in Chinatown with Police Chief William Scott and Assemblymember David Chiu to discuss recent instances of violence against Asian Americans in the neighborhood.
We know from Breed's early Twitter days as a supervisor that she is not above a few choice curse words — in one instance she told a complaining constituent, "if you pay my salary I want a raise to listen to your bullshit," and remember when she called 48 Hills a "bullshit-ass blog"?? But this is the first instance in memory that, as mayor, she has gone on the record in front of TV cameras with some colorful language, obviously to make her point heard.
It's not clear whether the changes announced by Breed are all that substantive — one mentioned is "notifying the District Attorney's office when a person is repeatedly arrested," though it would seem logical that police were already doing this.
The issue that is likely to continue to dog both her and District Attorney Chesa Boudin is that the first six weeks of the year saw three convicted felons arrested for re-offending, with two cases in which people died, allegedly at their hands while driving stolen vehicles. Also there have been recent instances of violence against Asian Americans in SF and elsewhere in the Bay Area. As more San Franciscans are directly impacted by break-ins, violence, and vandalism, there's a perception that the streets have become more lawless than ever, and people are looking for someone to blame. And Boudin's progressive take on prosecuting non-violent crimes isn't sitting well with everyone.
First there was the New Year's Eve hit-and-run for which parolee Troy McAlister, 45, was arrested and charged. McAlister was allegedly driving a vehicle he stole from a Tinder date days earlier, and police say he was racing away from another crime when he hit and killed two women on a SoMa street, 27-year-old Hanako Abe of San Francisco, and 60-year-old Elizabeth Platt. McAlister also had a rap sheet dating back years, and Boudin pointed the finger at the parole board for not better punishing him as he repeatedly violated his parole last year.
The Chronicle's Editorial Board immediately went into attack mode, publishing this editorial pointing the finger at Boudin. "Shunning his obvious responsibility to protect the public won’t work in this case, especially given the glaring circumstances and outcome," the Board wrote. "Arguments about restorative justice won’t cut it."
Then there was the eight-car collision two weeks ago near Lake Merced that injured several drivers and killed 26-year-old jogger Sheria Musyoka. Police say the cause of the collision was 31-year-old Jerry Lyons, a felon on probation for grand theft who was about to charged in a December DUI involving a stolen car. Lyons allegedly ran a red light at high speed while intoxicated, sent Musyoka flying hundreds of feet, collided with several cars, and according to witnesses he then got out of his car, went to the curb, and lit up a substance in a foil pipe.
A week later, a DoorDash driver's vehicle was carjacked while he was making a delivery, and two children were still strapped in the backseat. One of the suspects in that carjacking/kidnapping turns out to be 25-year-old Erlin Romero, who was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the crime. Romero was charged twice in theft incidents last year, including a car theft in August 2020.
So, Breed's rhetorical threats to criminals coming to our city implies that some crimes are being committed by out-of-town suspects — perhaps stuff like break-ins. But there haven't been any published stats on where thieves or violent criminals are coming from.
In the case of the 84-year-old man who was pushed to the ground and killed in the Anza Vista neighborhood on January 28, the suspect is a 19-year-old from Daly City, Antoine Watson.
In Boudin's defense, Deputy Public Defender Sujung Kim wrote a comment on the Chronicle's editorial — since deleted, as reported by 48 Hills — arguing that McAlister's hit-and-run was a tragic result of "systemic failures," and one DA should not be to blame. Kim also argued that it was, in fact, up to the parole board to send McAlister back to prison for his earlier offenses in 2020, not Boudin's.
Meanwhile, local Republican and onetime candidate for SF mayor Richie Greenberg has launched an effort to recall Boudin — an effort he began with a petition just days after McAlister's arrest in the the New Year's Eve incident. And Silicon Valley investor Cyan Bannister, whose home was burglarized by a parolee while her nine-year-old was at home last month, has joined in the campaign and changed her Twitter handle to "Recall Chesa Boudin."
"I've lived here for 22 years, and in those 22 years I've never seen the city as bad off as it is now," Bannister said in a video posted to Twitter last week. She directly blames Boudin for the state of the city, saying, "He is an attorney that's supposed to be on the victim's side, and instead he sides with criminal behavior, and he releases criminals into the public, without the proper infrastructure, who then go on to commit further violent crime."
To be clear, in all of the above instances, the suspects were not freed after violent crimes, but mostly after thefts and/or previous DUIs.
Photo: David Chiu/Twitter