New San Francisco DA fires staff investigating wrongful convictions and police misconduct

Brooke Jenkins had promised continuity after taking over from recalled DA Chesa Boudin

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 19 July 2022 10:20 EDT
New San Francisco DA outlines goals

New San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins has fired at least 15 of ousted predecessor Chesa Boudin’s staff within days of being sworn in.

Ms Jenkins, who led efforts to recall Mr Boudin over his alleged “soft on crime” policies, has axed a swathe of attorneys investigating wrongful convictions and police misconduct as part of a major overhaul of the Bay Area prosecutor’s office.

The 40-year-old initially said she had no plans to fire staff after her appointment by Mayor London Breed, and said she was considering “reshuffling” the office after her 10 July swearing-in.

But on Friday, Ms Jenkins announced she was getting rid of several senior staff members including Managing Attorney Arcelia Hurtado, the office's representative on San Francisco’s Innocence Commission, and Mr Boudin's chief of staff Kate Chatfield, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Assistant district attorney Dana Drusinsky tweeted on Friday that she was one of 16 people fired “without cause” in a five minute phone call.

“I’m not a manager. I’m not a chief. I was fired because I believe in criminal justice reform,” she said.

Ms Drusinsky said she had secured the release of around 70 long-term prisoners who had been able to demonstrate “growth and rehabilitaion”.

“I’m sad for all the people who lost their jobs yesterday because of political vengeance,” she added.

“But mostly I’m sad for the people who are wrongly in prison, who will now never be freed.”

The politically progressive Mr Boudin was ousted in a 7 June recall election fuelled by frustration over public safety in the deeply Democratic city. Viral video footage of people shoplifting and attacking seniors, particularly Asian Americans, rattled residents.

He had campaigned on a platform of decreasing incarceration and holding police officers to account.

Ms Jenkins became a major face of the recall campaign after she quit office in 2021 and went public with complaints about Mr Boudin, a former public defender who was elected in 2019 as part of a national wave of progressive prosecutors. 

Chesa Boudin was recalled as San Francisco DA in June

San Francisco has long struggled with rampant homelessness, and a plethora of street crimes, including open drug dealing, vandalism and auto theft.

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