By Claudia Drdul
The criminal justice system needs reform, and while reform is typically not guaranteed by incremental solutions, Chesa Boudin’s election as San Francisco’s District Attorney (DA) is an important step in improving how we as a people prevent crime.
Boudin has received endorsements by outspoken proponents of restorative justice like Angela Davis and Shaun King who there is no doubt will hold him accountable if he is elected.
On his website, it states “the criminal justice system is racist. Even though African Americans make up at most 5% of San Francisco’s population, they make up about 50% of the people in San Francisco’s jails.”
To combat this injustice, Boudin has vowed to “decline to prosecute cases where an arresting officer has a history of racist behavior” and require bias training for police.
Due to his equitable racial policy plans, the San Francisco Black Young Democrats, the Latino Democratic club, and members of the San Francisco lowrider community have come out in support of Boudin.
All the while Suzy Loftus grapples for votes from people of color by parading around the historically Latinx Mission in a lowrider, presuming her target audience will solely vote on principles of identity politics.
Another area Boudin’s plan excels in is not conflating consensual sex work with sex trafficking or sexual crimes. At an Oct. 23 debate at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, Boudin made it clear he will not prosecute consensual sex work, something that DAs typically refuse to consider.
As for actual sex crimes, sexual assault survivors like Tiffany T. have come out in support of Boudin’s platform by being featured in one of his campaign mailers where he vows to implement a six point plan that includes establishing a sexual violence task force and testing every rape kit.
In 2016, Loftus, who was president of the San Francisco Police Commission at the time, was named in a lawsuit by Heather Marlowe for not testing her rape kit.
Boudin has promised to crack down on instances of police brutality and has vowed to re-open local police brutality cases. This has been well received as he has been endorsed by the families of Mario Woods and Alex Nieto, both killed by the SFPD.
Shortly after taking office as interim DA, Loftus’ office decided to go ahead with charges against a defendant for “possession of cannabis 28.5 grams or less.” Although she later asked the prosecutors to drop the infraction, it’s hard to trust someone who has been running on a platform of prioritizing “rehabilitation, alternatives to incarceration, and other diversion programs that address the root causes of crime” while simultaneously allowing charges like this to be filed in the first place.
On Nov. 1 Boudin tweeted about an article Mission Local broke: “SFPD illegally collected info about San Franciscans for years. SF leaders – like president of the police commission at the time, Suzy Loftus – failed to hold them accountable.”
While mainstream media outlets have barely reported on the inconsistencies in Loftus’ campaign, the people of San Francisco are seeing through the cracks in her stolen platform.
Immediately after the Oct. 23 DA debate, Loftus was nowhere in sight and Boudin was bombarded with questions by 15 or so young voters. At a DA candidate forum in a Mission coffee shop on Oct. 30, a banner was dropped behind Loftus that read “#Killer Cop Suzy Loftus” and audience members booed her off stage with their chants.
Due to Boudin’s dedication to hold the SFPD accountable during instances of police brutality, the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) has established a Political Action Committee (PAC) that has raised more than $650,000 for a smear campaign against him.
One of the mailers the SFPOA PAC sent out had the mugshots of several men on the front, essentially using their faces without their permission for political gain. Although the mugshots are classified as public domain because they are owned by the federal government, they attest to the dehumanizing mentality of the POA.
Overall, Boudin acknowledges that there needs to be accountability of perpetrators for victims of crime to heal, but he also understands that those who commit crimes commit them because they themselves have not been able to heal.