Brooke Jenkins named San Francisco's new district attorney

San Francisco's mayor on Thursday appointed Brooke Jenkins as the city's new district attorney after a historic recall that forced Chesa Boudin out of office. 

Jenkins is a former prosecutor for Boudin's office, but resigned last year to join the campaign that called for his removal, leading her to become a prominent voice in the recall movement against her former boss. 

"She sacrificed her career to fight for people in this city to fight for victims who needed a voice in this city," Mayor London Breed said at a news conference, where she formally introduced Jenkins as her pick for the city's new district attorney. 

"She is someone who has the necessary experience to lead this department and from personal experience, understands both sides of the criminal justice system," Breed. "We have a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone feels safe in our city."

Jenkins vowed to hold people who commit crime accountable, while also furthering criminal justice reform efforts.

"As a Black and Latina woman, I have seen the imbalances and disproportionate impacts of our criminal justice firsthand. I have had family members on both sides of the courtroom," she said. "My family has seen and felt the impacts of police violence. The inequity in the criminal justice system is not theoretical to me—it is part of my lived experience."

Jenkins said there will be consequences for violent and repeat offenders. "We are a city of second chances," said Jenkins. "But the truth is we have to draw a line with people who choose hate, violence, and a life of crime."

She also promised to crack down on open air drug markets, hold those who commit hate crimes accountable, and give victims a voice.

"Our Asian community can no longer live in fear of being attacked simply because of who they are," she said.

Jenkins will serve until November where she will run in a special election to decide who will complete Boudin’s term through 2023.

Some recall opponents like John Hamasaki, a former police commissioner, are unhappy with Jenkins' appointment. 

"This is a slap in the face to everybody who has worked on reform," said Hamasaki.

He called the appointment of Jenkins to DA a missed opportunity and an insider pick.

"She has kind of aligned herself with the police union and the Republicans in the recall and it also calls for a return to policies of mass incarceration," said Hamasaki.

Boudin’s former chief of staff, Cristine Soto DeBerry, who is also the founder of the Prosecutor’s Alliance said she’s hopeful Jenkins will embrace reform.

"I think it comes as a bit of a surprise that one of the people that was a very central figure of the recall was the choice," she said.

On June 7, San Francisco residents voted to oust the progressive Boudin from office, just two years into his term.

Boudin entered office during the national wave of progressive prosecutors who pledged to seek alternatives to incarceration, end the racist war on drugs and hold police officers to account.

But his time in office coincided with a frustrating and frightening pandemic in which viral footage of brazen shoplifting and attacks against Asian American people drove some residents to mount a recall campaign of the former public defender.

In an interview with KTVU in April, Jenkins said Boudin was too lax on crime and failed to protect San Franciscans.

"He is failing to prioritize public safety," Jenkins said at the time. "He has made political policy positions more important than what is necessary to protect the citizens of San Francisco. We are seeing lives actually be loss as a result of his failed policies."