A top aide for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin locked her Twitter account earlier this week after appearing to mock a constituent who had expressed concerns about crime in the city.
Kate Chatfield, Boudin’s senior director for legislation and policy, reportedly set her account to private mode “hours after comparing political opponents to ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ a highly controversial 1915 film that depicts Ku Klux Klan members as heroes,” according to SFGate.
Chatfield had responded to a tweet posted last weekend from Michelle Tandler, who describes herself as a San Francisco native and moderate Democrat. SFGate reported that Tandler “has been vocal on Twitter in her criticisms of Boudin,” known as one of the most progressive prosecutors in the country and currently the target of a recall campaign.
Tandler tweeted: “Anecdotally, every single one of my friends right now is considering leaving SF (and frankly, myself included). The biggest driver is no longer cost of living. It’s crime. My friends are scared for their children, and their husbands are scared for their wives…”
Chatfield quote-tweeted a screenshot of Tandler’s post with the caption, “‘Husbands are scared for their wives’ — your reminder that the ‘crime surge’ crowd shares the same ideology as The Birth of a Nation.” The post also linked to a Wikipedia article that claimed the film portrayed the KKK “as a heroic force, necessary to preserve American values, protect the women, and maintain white supremacy.”
First time being trolled by a San Francisco public official.
(Kate is a Senior Director at the SF DA's office.)
Guess something I'm saying is hitting a nerve. pic.twitter.com/Vu7a2MR0rZ
— Michelle Tandler 🌁 (@michelletandler) July 5, 2021
More details from SFGate:
In “The Birth of a Nation,” male KKK members are celebrated for “defending” white women against racist caricatures of African Americans.
Chatfield was heavily criticized for comparing those concerned with rising homicide and burglary rates to KKK members. (Crime statistics show that overall, violent crime has fallen under Boudin, but homicides and burglaries have increased.)…
Boudin’s office declined to comment on the contents of the tweet, stating that Chatfield acted in a personal capacity and not as a representative of the district attorney’s office.
Tandler said Chatfield’s response was her “first time being trolled by a San Francisco public official,” adding, “Guess something I’m saying is hitting a nerve.”
Several progressives defended Chatfield, including Dr. Melina Abdullah, the lead organizer of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter. She said recall efforts against reform-minded prosecutors like Boudin and L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón “are actually thinly-veiled attempts to maintain a violently racist system that steals Black life and destroys Black community.”
“Let’s be clear,” Abdullah tweeted on Wednesday. “Language from white people about the need for husbands to protect their wives from crime is code language that has justified police brutality, mass incarceration, and the killing of Black people in this country for centuries.”
Black people & their allies hear exactly what is being threatened–& to whom–when white people say “husbands are scared for their wives.”
We know exactly what is meant by this language.
Our bodies & our communities have borne the scars of this language for centuries.
— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) July 7, 2021
“Black people & their allies hear exactly what is being threatened – & to whom – when white people say ‘husbands are scared for their wives,’” she continued. “We know exactly what is meant by this language. Our bodies & our communities have borne the scars of this language for centuries.”