Why I Stand By San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin

Karen Fleshman
5 min readAug 25, 2021

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I stand by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who San Franciscans elected two years ago in a competitive race, and encourage every San Franciscan to do so, too.

I voted for Chesa because he promised to address rampant racism in San Francisco’s justice system. A 2015 report found that Black adults are 7.1 times as likely as white adults to be arrested, 11 times as likely to be booked into County Jail, and 10.3 times as likely to be convicted of a crime in San Francisco. Black people make up 6% of San Francisco’s population, yet as of July 2019, African Americans represent 46% of the people incarcerated in the county Jail system, 38% of the adults on probation and 55% of juveniles on probation in San Francisco were African American.

San Francisco Police Department’s rampant racism is the core of the problem. In two separate instances, SFPD officers were caught sending racist text messages. In 2014, after newcomers to San Francisco racially profiled him as a gang member for wearing a red 49ers jacket and called the police, San Francisco Police Department officers rolled up on 28-year-old Alex Nieto, a native San Franciscan enjoying a burrito before work, and shot him 59 times. Not only did our former District Attorney, George Gascón, not indict the SFPD officers, a jury with no Black or Latino members found 59 bullets was not excessive force.

Unabated by the outcry against Nieto’s murder, San Francisco Police Department killed six people in 2015, making San Francisco rank eighth nationally among US cities in police murder per capita. Despite being witnessed by hundreds of people, including a busload of children on their way home from school, a half dozen SFPD officers surrounded 26 year old Black man Mario Woods, who had his back against a wall, and executed him by firing squad in a hail of 21 bullets in December 2015.

Community members had enough. We united with family members of victims and demanded Mayor Ed Lee fire Chief Greg Suhr, federal oversight of SFPD, and that our previous District Attorney, George Gascón, indict San Francisco Police Department officers with murder.

Gascón ignored our pleas.

Chesa Boudin listened to us. He shared that his experience as a child of incarcerated

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Karen Fleshman

Founder, Racy Conversations Inspiring the antiracist generation.