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Woke San Francisco DA Offers Excuses For Infamous Walgreens Shoplifter
Deputy public defender Chesa Boudin (middle) representing robbery suspect Kenneth Humphrey talks to press at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.
Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Hard-left San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who has expressed his contempt for San Francisco police in the past, offered excuses for the infamous Walgreens shoplifter who was videotaped by a security guard on June 14 as the shoplifter casually stole items from a Walgreens in Hayes Valley, filled up a garbage bag, and strolled out the front door.

Boudin told The New Yorker, “When I watch that video, I think about five questions that people are not asking that I think they should. Is he drug addicted, mentally ill, desperate? Is he part of a major retail fencing operation? What’s driving this behavior and is it in any way representative, because it was presented as something symptomatic?”

Boudin continued, “If Walgreens has insurance for certain goods or they expect a certain amount of loss, if they would rather not risk lawsuits or escalation to violence—then maybe that’s something we should know about.”

He seemingly blamed Walgreens, saying, “When this particular individual was arrested, and we got the full police history, it turned out that he had been detained by the police previously after another Walgreens incident, and they didn’t arrest him because Walgreens had said they did not want to press charges in that prior case. The police had known who he was for months.”

In May, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Walgreens had closed 17 San Francisco stores in the last five years due to the “cost of business and shoplifting.”

Boudin told a CBS affiliate in late May. “The reality is the POA (police officers union) needs someone to point the finger at and this isn’t a new issue. Look they were blaming (Vice President) Kamala Harris and attacking her when she was the district attorney. This is an age-old problem in San Francisco because the POA wants to get away without doing their job. They want to get away with allowing their officers to send racist text messages, to use excessive force against the community, and to engage in systematic violations of civil rights of Black and brown drivers on our streets. And I’m pushing back and demanding that they modernize, that they reform, and that they respect all the members of our community.”

“In order to address the ongoing problem of shoplifting at retail establishments like Walgreens, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí held a hearing Thursday, May 13, with retailers, police, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and probation departments. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that retailers at the hearing pointed the finger at ‘professional thieves instead of opportunistic shoplifters who may be driven by poverty,’”  Law Enforcement Today reported in May.

Boudin called the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) racist in June 2019, snapping, “There are lots of situations in San Francisco where ICE is making arrests. We know it’s racist, we know it’s targeting immigrants, and unfortunately, right now no one in the DA’s office has the resources or the mandate to investigate those interactions.”

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