17 November 2022

This Should Be Illegal

It should surprise no one that San Francisco police engaged in a deliberated coordinated slowdown when Chesa Boudin became District Attorney.

If there is some sort of underlying crime, this is a criminal conspiracy:

San Francisco police officers stepped up street enforcement in significant ways after District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled and replaced by mayoral appointee Brooke Jenkins, a new analysis of city data finds.

In the three months since Jenkins was sworn in July 8, police initiated eight more traffic stops per day on average when compared with the three months before — an increase of nearly 30%.

Also in the 45 days after Jenkins was sworn in, officers made 10 additional “public order” stops per day, a 20% increase, according to the analysis conducted by an economist from New York University’s Public Safety Lab in partnership with The Chronicle.

Public order stops include those related to vandalism, illegal dumping, soliciting sex, trespassing and sit-lie ordinances, which prohibit individuals from sitting or lying on city sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. These crimes are mostly classified as lower-level, and police typically exercise more discretion in responding to them than they do with more serious offenses like robberies and shootings.

The jump in stops raises questions about whether the change was driven by the replacement of a progressive, reformist prosecutor with a more moderate district attorney who has publicly pledged to increase punishment for people accused of crime.

Some police critics decried what they saw as purposeful police inactivity under Boudin’s tenure — an assertion that officials disputed — while some voters who ousted Boudin believed he was hamstringing the cops by being too lenient with prosecutions. Recall supporters have been asking for more street enforcement.

“The paper’s potential implications that there were significant changes in officers’ behavior relating to the recall election are very concerning to me,” Police Commissioner Kevin Benedicto told The Chronicle in an email. “I plan to review the paper and data closely and discuss the findings with Chief Scott and SFPD leadership.”


Attempts to measure the impact of Boudin’s and Jenkins’ policies on crime and on how police do their jobs have been challenging, in part because Boudin took office right before the COVID pandemic upended the city’s social and economic order, causing far larger changes to crime rates than any district attorney could.

But the analysis conducted in partnership with The Chronicle suggests that while San Francisco’s switch in district attorneys hasn’t significantly impacted actual crime rates in the city, it has influenced police behavior.

The police were engaged in a wildcat strike, and it wasn't because they though that Boudin was not "tough" enough , but because Boudin had decided to prosecute corrupt and brutal cops.

Jenkins has put those prosecutions on hold, and the cops are doing their jobs again.

Once again, I find it difficult to distinguish between a police department and a criminal gang.


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