San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on Friday fired 15 staffers less than a week after replacing the city’s former DA Chesa Boudin in a recall.
“Today, I made difficult but important changes to my management team and staff that will help advance my vision to restore a sense of safety in San Francisco by holding serious and repeat offenders accountable and implementing smart criminal justice reforms,” Jenkins said to SFGATE.com.
Jenkins, who helped lead the campaign to oust her predecessor, held a “horrible,” “icy,” “uncomfortable,” and “insane” 20-minute meeting with most of Boudin’s staff almost immediately after the city’s Mayor London Breed swore in Jenkins earlier this month. During that meeting, Jenkins said to the approximately 25 employees that she would not fire anyone that day but planned on meeting with staffers for a possible “reshuffling” of the office, SFGATE.com reported.
Through Jenkin’s reshuffling, Managing Attorney Arcelia Hurtado reportedly lost her job first.
Hurtado served as a representative for The Innocence Commission, which Boudin established in 2020 to review cases of those who were wrongfully convicted. In a recent interview with KQED, Jenkins said she would support the commission.
However, Lara Bazelon, chair of the commission and law professor at the University of San Francisco, told SFGATE.com that Jenkin’s decision to fire Hurtado is “deeply concerning,” considering Mayor Breed’s brother could receive leniency with possible release from prison following his conviction for carjacking and manslaughter.
Other staffers booted by Jenkins were the former DA’s chief of staff, Kate Chatfield, who tweeted on Friday that Boudin’s reformations would disappear.
“The resentencing/innocence commission unit: gone,” Chatfield said. “Police accountability: gone. Data and transparency: gone. Political corruption investigation: gone. Champion for victims and children: demoted.”
She added, “Champion for humane, hugely-popular, and successful treatment programs: gone. Latino/a outreach: gone. Support for trafficked children: gone.”
Jenkin’s reshuffling also included Tal Klement, assistant chief of general crimes, who tweeted he would never stop fighting for real criminal justice reform following his firing.
Jenkin’s dismissed Boudin’s communication director and policy advisor, Rachel Marshall, the former director of data, analytics, and research, Mikaela Rabinowitz, and the managing attorney of the independent investigations bureau Lateef Gray.
In a statement, Jenkin’s said she would do everything she could to restore accountability and consequences to the city’s criminal justice system while still using progressive reforms.
“I have seen firsthand the imbalances and disproportionate impacts of our criminal justice system,” she said.
During a press conference, she called San Francisco “a city of second chances.”
“But the truth is we have to draw a line with people who choose hate, violence, and a life of crime,” Jenkins said, according to The Grio. “I want to make clear: holding offenders accountable does not preclude us from moving forward with vital and important reforms to our criminal justice system.”
She served as an Assistant DA in the city’s DA office for approximately seven years until resigning during Boudin’s reign, noting dissatisfaction with the direction of the office.
Mayor Breed said she hears from frustrated residents daily about feeling unsafe and the city’s accountability.
Under Boudin’s rule, the former DA eliminated cash bail for suspects, directed his department to refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and prosecuted fewer shoplifters. Homicides and property crimes including burglaries and car thefts have spiked over the past two years, and Boudin’s handling of suspected fentanyl dealers drew criticism.
Although Boudin, who gained support from left-wing billionaire George Soros, admitted he made mistakes, Boudin blamed his recall on right-wing billionaires.
Jenkins serves as San Francisco’s District Attorney until November when she faces a special election that determines who completes Boudin’s term.
Daily Wire reporter Greg Wilson contributed to this report.