SAN FRANCISCO - Two months after San Francisco businesses were targeted by looters, we are now getting a sense of how justice is shaping up for those arrested in connection with the brazen burglaries.
Several suspects were arrested, at least one suspect's case is now done, another very close to being over. Both of those suspects are out of jail, their time in jail for this case at least, appears to be done.
The images from November 19 are unforgettable. Suspects running through the streets of San Francisco arms full of loot, while Union Square received most of the attention it was far from the only target.
That same night police say three men broke into the Connected Cannabis dispensary in the city's Mission District, cutting a lock on the front door and making off with merchandise. Three suspects would eventually be arrested.
Raynard Jones was arrested for multiple felonies, including burglary receiving or buying stolen property and obstructing a peace officer. Now, court documents show that on Thursday he was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor trespass, he got credit for 10 days of time served, one year probation and fines.
Another suspect, Michael Ray, has already had his first degree burglary, felony conspiracy and receiving or buying stolen property charges reduced to a single second degree commercial burglary charge.
University of San Francisco law professor Lara Bazelon said that is not a surprising outcome, despite the high-profile nature of the offense, she says nine out of 10 cases reach some sort of negotiated plea deal rather than a trial. "I know that your viewers are used to thinking about every charge ending up in a courtroom, kind of like Law and Order," said Professor Bazelon. "But, actually most people are negotiating an agreement with the DA and that's what happened here."
Brooke Jenkins served as a prosecutor in San Francisco for seven years, but last year left the District Attorney's Office and is now working on the campaign to recall Chesa Boudin. She says while deals are commonplace, this case should have served as an example. She says the DA promised felony charges, which he delivered, but he failed to follow through.
"This was a prime instance where the DA's office needed to set, send a message to the community, that this type of conduct is not acceptable in San Francisco, and this is not an instance where pleading someone down to a misdemeanor was appropriate," said Jenkins.
Remember these two cases were just related to a cannabis dispensary that was looted that night in November. We reached out to the district attorney's office repeatedly on Monday to get updates on the other cases that are making their way through the courts. So far we have not heard back.