Boudin Offers Words of Encouragement and Remorse During Town Hall Thursday

SF DA Chesa Boudin

By Alana Bleimann 

SAN FRANCISCO – Justice reform-minded District Attorney Chesa Boudin – under some fire in San Francisco after a high profile incident on New Year’s Eve – held a virtual town hall Thursday to counter the accusations, and addressed police accountability, access to victim resources, ending the drug epidemic, and motives for racialized hate crimes.

After the death of Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt from the reckless driving of Troy McAllister, Boudin’s policies and calls for the end of mass incarceration have been questioned and scrutinized.  He has been called, by some, a “murderer” whose “existence has a body count” – but on Thursday, he defended his record and pushed back against his critics.

And, during the virtual Town Hall, Boudin took questions from viewers who expressed anxieties for the safety of their city.

Boudin began each response by thanking the community and acknowledging that harm has been done to both victims and the city at large.

“We must have community-based intervention,” Boudin emphasized many times.

He made it very clear that the criminal justice system does not always work and that placing individuals who have committed non-violent crimes in the hands of the system is not effective in stopping crime.

In fact, “police don’t really prevent crime, they arrive after a crime has been committed,” Boudin noted, adding that people must rely on the community to get to the root causes of crime and implement “more effective tools to get at the root causes of crime.”

On the other hand, Boudin did state that violent crimes, such as the ones committed against Abe and Platt must be handled differently.

There are some cases that incarceration is necessary in short-term in order to keep the public safe, he said, noting that while people are incarcerated for short-term rates, “we are intervening in an effective way and understanding their motives.”

Boudin’s number one priority is the city’s safety and sense of security.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a new statute in Boudin’s policies that will “lay out the specific responsibilities and expectations when someone is on supervision like parole or probation,” as was the problem in the McAllister case.

In fact, “having someone on parole is a very effective way to work with other law enforcement….to intervene when someone is on a downward spiral.”

But this doesn’t happen every time, he said, citing statistics showing “about two-thirds of people coming home from state prison across that state of California will be re-incarcerated within a year of their release.”

Boudin further stressed that the theory of recidivism is not unique to the city of San Francisco and is not a new phenomenon but “a tragic reality of our criminal justice system” for hundreds of years.

In the same respect, Boudin touched on how locking people up in jails and prisons is extremely ineffective by a certain point.

“We’ve seen it [incarceration] play out…it has not worked out to keep us safe,” he stated firmly, adding that in the end, the goal is to have no re-offenses which will lead to long-term safety.

Additionally, Boudin spoke on the myths surrounding Prop 47.

Protecting small businesses from being looted is at the top of the list of concerns for Boudin’s office, acknowledging that many stores that used to be targeted for crime have closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Boudin.

“We do prosecute shoplifting every day” as police constantly make arrests and regularly file criminal charges against those who commit these crimes, he said, and more than 4,500 new adult criminal charges have been made since Chesa was sworn into office in January 2020.

But, similar to violent crimes like those made by Troy McAllister, shoplifting misdemeanors must be deterred by addressing the root causes, the DA maintains.

Boudin ended the virtual town hall by emphasizing the effectiveness of community based intervention because “we can’t rely on only police to do that.”

Alana Bleimann is a junior at the University of San Francisco majoring in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice Studies. She is from Raleigh, North Carolina.

To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice –

Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for