SF Police Take a Stand against DA Boudin by Not Doing Their Job

By Darling Gonzalez

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Heather Knight’s recent article, “More S.F. residents share stories of police standing idly by as crimes unfold: ‘They didn’t want to be bothered,’” notes San Francisco residents’ concerns over safety as police officers continue to “ignore crime” in support of DA Boudin’s recall.

Knight included a story by Danielle Kuzinich, who detailed how SFPD had witnessed the vandalization of her parklet at the SF Wine Society and simply let the vandal continue to destroy her property.

“Security camera footage from a business across the street [showed] the interaction between the cops and the man, who continued to tamper with the parklet after the officers departed, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and costing Kuzinich an estimated $40,000 in business as she repaired it,” Knight explained.

Such negligent behavior by SF police officers is not uncommon, notes Knight, listing other similar situations experienced by SF residents.

For example, Knight cited Jordan Staniscia’s stolen e-bike and his inability to receive any real help from police after tracking it via GPS, having videos of proof of theft, and showing police that his bike had been put up for sale by the burglars.

In response, Staniscia was told by police that he could pose as a buyer and ask to meet in front of the Mission Police Station where police could possibly come out to help.

“I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Excuse me?’ This person could be armed,” Staniscia said. “It seemed like a gamble to me and a dangerous one.”

When Staniscia’s bike was sold to a buyer in San Jose, San Jose police got the bike back in 45 minutes, Knight said.

Another SF resident, Eric Meyerson, said he was brushed off by the police after informing them of a tagging incident at Sunnyside Playground that also led to vandalism at the back of his home, which was next to the park.

When Meyerson described to the police that he knew the perpetrators, he claimed the police “gaslit” him instead of providing support or showing any interest in the incident, Knight explained.

On the other hand, SF Police Chief Bill Scott argued that there was a lot of good work being done by police officers, citing reports every morning about the previous night’s activities.

However, Scott did acknowledge “that the department had ‘serious morale issues’ because of understaffing, intense scrutiny amid the police reform movement and tussles with District Attorney Chesa Boudin,” Knight said in her story.

Another resident, Richard Parina, explained to Knight that he too had seen people dealing drugs and fencing stolen items in U.N. Plaza and asked some cops why they would pass by and do nothing.

After asking if Parina was a reporter, the police stated, “The D.A. won’t do anything to prosecute if we make an arrest, so we’re here to protect people like you from the bad elements.”

In the article, Knight similarly cites statistics that have demonstrated the police’s dismissal of crime in San Francisco, along with other information about their negligence on the job.

“For example, last year the Department of Police Accountability opened 595 cases into alleged police wrongdoing; the largest share by far, 42.6 percent, related to “neglect of duty,” Knight explained.

After learning about the parklet vandalism, Supervisor Hillary Ronen wrote a letter to Scott where she mentioned officers’ beliefs that arresting a suspect would be pointless because DA Boudin wouldn’t prosecute anyway.

Yet, DA Boudin has acknowledged that he has pushed for decreasing incarceration rates, but denies the police’s claim entirely, says Knight.

According to Knight, Ronen’s letter also includes that out of all the crimes reported to SF police in 2021 only 8.1 percent led to arrests, the lowest in the decade.

Knight emphasized that Kuzinich has remained proactive on getting justice for her parklet and has complained to the Department of Police Accountability despite being warned that its resolution could take up to nine months.

“The system is broken,” Kuzinich concluded.

About The Author

Darling is an incoming junior at UCLA, majoring in English and Political Science with an interest in law. She is originally from Bell Gardens, California.

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  1. Keith Olson

    “The D.A. won’t do anything to prosecute if we make an arrest, so we’re here to protect people like you from the bad elements.”

    Yup, I think that’s more the case.  The cops know the perp will be back out on the streets by the end of the day in most cases.

      1. Keith Olson

        It’s hard to do your job when you know or perceive that it’s a waste of time to make an arrest when the criminal will end up back on the streets in short order.

        1. David Greenwald

          I think that’s an excuse and if they can’t do their job, then the department needs to hire someone who will. Police are not policy makers. There is a reason why we have a separation of powers. It seems to me that a lot of the complaints about Boudin and crime are now laid at the feet of the cops who are apparently trying to sabotage him over policy differences and that’s not alright.

        2. Keith Olson

          So now it’s the cops fault, not the fault of Boudin’s lenient policies.

          I see where this is going.

          Keep trying though, but I think the voters will see it differently come June.

        3. Keith Y Echols

           then the department needs to hire someone who will. Police are not policy makers. 

          Doesn’t matter that the police aren’t policy makers.  No one wants to do a pointless job.  The only people the city would end up hiring to do such a pointless job are ones just there to collect a paycheck and probably won’t be that effective anyway.

          I usually don’t dive into the San Francisco judicial politics.  But the Vanguard sure seems to have drunk Boudin’s “there is no crime if we don’t prosecute it” approach.

  2. Alan Miller

    Wait, what?   I thought having the police not doing their job was the whole intent of ‘defund the police’.  Oh I laugh what a stupid saying.  And ignoring crimes like vandalism and bike theft — I thought that was a progressive goal.  So y’all are complaining because the police aren’t doing their jobs, when they know from experience when they pass these crimes on to be prosecuted, they won’t be?  Wow, what a laugh!  Except it’s not funny.

    I’d say more but why bother.

    1. David Greenwald

      As I understand, the idea was to get the police away from trying to be things like social workers and back to doing what they are paid to do, arrest people who have committed crimes. If they aren’t doing that, then the system kind of breaks down. If they disagree with the prosecutor’s policies, they should quit, because they are not policymakers. Look I don’t think you should lock someone in a cage for some of the minor offenses, but if a cop sees someone breaking into a place and just watches them do it, that’s not helpful.

      1. Don Shor

        Look I don’t think you should lock someone in a cage for some of the minor offenses, but if a cop sees someone breaking into a place and just watches them do it, that’s not helpful.

        So, out of curiosity, what is the cop supposed to do? That’s really the core issue in implementing the police/justice reforms that have been under discussion. If it’s not a crime, the police cannot do anything, so decriminalizing property crimes removes any basis for enforcement.

        1. Keith Y Echols

          The complaint is that they are not arresting people who are committing crimes.  No one has decriminalized property crimes.

          What’s the point of arresting criminals if they’re not likely to be prosecuted for their crimes?

          1. David Greenwald

            What makes you think that’s the case, the data we have is that the DA’s office has filed on 88 percent of cases submitted to them, but less than 15 percent of cases get filed, so where is the problem here? To me it looks like it’s on the front end, not the back end.

        2. David Greenwald

          Also important to point out – police do not arrest criminals, they arrest people who are suspected of committing a crime.

          I don’t think criminal is a good word anyway.  It labels the person rather than the act/ behavior.  It creates a stigma.  Moreover, in a larger sense – if a criminal is defined as someone who breaks the law, probably everyone is a criminal or at least almost every one.  I suppose a few people have never broken a single law.

        3. Keith Y Echols

          The numbers show the prosecution rate for shoplifting cases involving a misdemeanor petty theft charge for a loss of $950 or less fell under Boudin, from 70 percent under former District Attorney George Gascon in 2019 to 44 percent in 2020 and 50 percent as of mid-June 2021.

          Prosecutors filed charges in 116 of 266 cases presented by police involving petty theft in 2020, compared to 450 of 647 cases in 2019, according to the data provided by the District Attorney’s Office.

          On the other hand, the prosecution rate for certain organized retail theft cases remained between 81 and 84 percent under both Gascon and Boudin between 2019 and 2021.


           the charging rate for theft by Mr. Boudin’s office declined from 62% in 2019 to 46% in 2021; for petty theft it fell from 58% to 35%. San Francisco’s jail population has plummeted to 766 in 2021 from 2,850 in 2019. More than half of all offenders, and three-quarters of the most violent ones, who are released from jail before trial commit new crimes.


          Mr. Boudin has increased charges for some crimes. The charging rate for rape rose from 43% to 53%, and for narcotics dealing from 47% to 60%, even as it declined for theft, illegal weapons and assault. He appears to be following through on his promise to ignore quality-of-life crimes, but it’s also the case that the state has ordered local prosecutors to reduce prosecution of such crimes because of Covid.

          Since taking office Jan. 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021, Boudin has tried just 23 cases resulting in 16 convictions, including four assaults (three convictions); one auto burglary, one residential burglary, one gun felony (no conviction); three sexual assaults (two convictions); two robberies; seven misdemeanor DUIs (four convictions); and one misdemeanor vehicular homicide, which he lost. In 2019 during the same timeframe, Boudin’s predecessor, George Gascon, tried 294 cases and got 203 convictions.

          In 2020, SFPD presented 6,333 felonies to Boudin’s office. Contrast that with neighboring Alameda County, where 6,331 felony cases were presented, resulting in 1,413 convictions. Alameda dismissed only 11.4 percent of cases, while San Francisco’s dismissal rate was 40 percent. 


      2. Alan Miller

        About 15 years ago is when cops in Davis stopped being able to ‘harass’ transients; around then I talked to a cop who said with new policies they’d bring someone to Woodland it would cost $1500 to process them, and they’d be out within hours and back in Davis.  So he said they just didn’t bother anymore.  He then read from memory the rather spooky rap sheets of the four or five men sitting around drinking on a spot by the railroad that remains a problem gathering spot to this day.  Given the story I related last weekend of the guy who shoved chair legs through the window of motorist who asked him what he was doing standing in the street on 5th, and after being ‘arrested’ he was seen on F Street the next day, I’d say it’s amazing the cops even bother when the transients are violent.  What has our society broken down to?

        1. David Greenwald

          Personally I think the big problem is that we have this dichotomy choice – cage or release. What we need are other ways to actually address the problems. It costs upwards of $85,000 a year to lock someone away. You would think with that money, you could find a better option. My problem again is that the police are not the deciders on that, but when they decide not to do their job, they are taking the policy questions into their own hands and in most cases, they really are not qualified let alone authorized to do that.

          BTW, a lot has actually changed in 15 years since that discussion, there are actually a lot more resources and services now available. But again, the cops are causing problems by failing to initiate the process.

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