Just two weeks after replacing San Francisco’s progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin, DA Brooke Jenkins is taking heat for a mass firing that many attorneys say is throwing the office into chaos, Courthouse News reports. Civil rights attorney Arcelia Hurtado, among about 15 people fired from the interim DA’s office, called Jenkins’ management a “disaster.” Hurtado said she was abruptly removed from managing the post-conviction unit — in the middle of the Napoleon Brown murder case involving Mayor London Breed’s brother — without explanation or transition plans. She called this “the biggest red flag” because Jenkins was appointed by the mayor and seems to be following instructions. This week, Jenkins asked the state Attorney General’s office to take over Hurtado’s case to avoid any conflict of interest with the mayor. It’s just one piece of what city attorneys and the Public Defender’s Office say is the fallout of returning to failed war-on-drugs policies after a heavily funded recall — which blamed homelessness and the opioid crisis on Boudin — that could harm many people. It is also being called a political backslide for San Francisco, recently connsidered a progressive city for criminal justice reform, while Breed positions herself as a centrist ally of frustrated voters.
Jenkins’ team fired critical Boudin staffers like data research director Mikaela Rabinowitz; the Independent Investigations Bureau attorney prosecuting cops, Lateef Gray; and assistant district attorney Dana Drusinsky, who helped obtain new sentences for rehabilitated people. Breed appears to have considerable influence over Jenkins’ office. Documents obtained by Mission Local show that the mayor’s office is intercepting press inquiries for Jenkins and providing media announcements for the DA to release, based on communications between DA spokesperson Robyn Burke and Breed’s deputy chief of staff Andrea Bruss. San Francisco Police Officers Association president Tracy McCray supports Jenkins’ actions. “After more than two years of having a criminal defense attorney occupy the district attorney’s office, we are hopeful that having an actual prosecutor in charge will result in criminals being held accountable and crime victims once again having a voice in our criminal justice system,” McCray said.