Chesa Boudin will not be winning any popularity contests with the Police Officers Association, as he has now charged another on-duty officer with homicide, which no previous DA had done before. Boudin has now done it twice.
Now that the Recall Chesa Boudin measure appears likely to qualify for the ballot, you would expect a significant amount of mud will be thrown at him, much of it over crimes that would have barely merited a bullet point in SFist’s old Police Blotter series from a decade ago. But the tensions between Boudin and the SFPD force, and the blistering attacks from the Police Officers Association, figure to become substantially more vicious. The Chronicle reports that Boudin charged an officer with homicide Tuesday in the 2017 shooting of Sean Moore.
That incident was an early morning situation in Oceanview in which Moore was shot and pepper sprayed after a dispute with his neighbors, who already had a restraining order against him. The story became a flash point in the then-debate over use of Tasers. His mother said Moore suffered from schizophrenia. Police insisted Moore had tried to grab an officer's baton, but bodycam footage showed that claim to be false, and officer Kenneth Cha was actually several feet from Moore when he opened fire.
The shooting was not initially fatal, but Moore died of his injuries in January 2020.
“We rely on officers to follow their training and to deescalate situations; instead, in just eight minutes, Officer Cha elevated a nonviolent encounter to one that took Sean Moore’s life. Sean Moore was unarmed and at his own home when Officer Cha shot him twice,” said Boudin said in a statement. “After a thorough investigation, my office is holding Officer Cha accountable for the death of Sean Moore, whom he lacked a lawful basis to even arrest. When officers inflict unwarranted violence in flagrant disregard of their training, it denigrates the hard work of other police officers and shatters the trust our community places in law enforcement. Rebuilding that trust requires us to hold those officers who inflict unlawful violence accountable.”
Cha is the same officer who shot a stabbing suspect outside the Market Street Subway later that same year. The board of supervisors approved a $3.25 million settlement with Moore’s family in June.
This is only the second time in San Francisco history that an on-duty officer has been charged with homicide. The first time was last November, and yes, the charging DA was Chesa Boudin.
You wondered if the recall effort would change Boudin, and make him a little bit more conciliatory toward the police. You now have the answer, and the recall race is probably going to become a lot more acrimonious.
Image: San Francisco Public Defender’s Office