SF Police Officers Association accused of trying to 'buy' district attorney race

Some SF supervisors and former police commissioners gathered to condemn the SFPOA's political attack ads and say they are trying to buy the district attorney's race.

Some San Francisco Supervisors gathered at Civic Center Plaza on Monday to condemn the city's Police Officers Association, accusing it of trying to buy the district attorney's race. 

Supervisors Matt Haney, Aaron Peskin, Hillary Ronen, and Sandra Lee Fewer along with some former police commissioners, say the SFPOA has spent $650,000 in two weeks on attack ads against D.A. candidate Chesa Boudin, who is running on a criminal justice reform platform against the interim incumbent, Suzy Loftus.  All four supervisors have all endorsed Boudin. 

The ads allege that Boudin won't prosecute DUI offenders and won't seek additional penalties for gang members who have committed violent crimes like rape and murder. One ad read, "Chesa Boudin: the #1 choice of criminals and gang members!"

"For years, the POA has fought bitterly to resist any police reform and to defend racism and criminal conduct within its ranks. The more than $650,000 in dishonest attack ads in the last two weeks make clear that I'm the reform candidate," Boudin said in a statement on Monday. 

"This is trying to buy democracy, trying to buy an election," Fewer said. "This appalling and I am disappointed in them.

"This amount of spending, over $600,000 in two weeks, is more than any of the candidates have spent in the entire last year. This spending is unprecedented. What's also unprecedented is the level of hatred and ugly attacks that are landing in people's mailboxes."

SF Examiner reported SFPOA is the biggest outside spender in the race, one of the most expensive of its kind in the city's history. The television and mail ads depict Boudin as the best choice for criminals and gang members.  

Police Commissioner Cindy Elias said, "It's really disheartening to see that this much money is being spent on political campaigns rather than being funneled back into its members, providing them the services and the support they need to do their job, which is very stressful."

KTVU reached out to the SFPOA for reaction. They did not address the spending issue directly. However, they did repeat their criticisms of Boudin, calling his positions and proposals "dangerous."

One of Boudin's proposals includes the plan to leave decoy laptops in parked cars at the bottom of Lombard Street and when the car's window is broken, rather than arrest that person, the plan calls for following the laptop to track where it goes as a way to expose and dismantle criminal networks creating demand for stolen property. 

Loftus, who started her job Oct. 21, says she is committed to doing something about San Francisco's ongoing problem with auto burglaries. She said there were as many as 70 a day last September. Since taking over, she has also ended a pilot program that allowed first time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders to avoid convictions. 

In a statement on their Facebook page, SFPOA, claimed Boudin's "apologists" are trying to keep voters in the dark about the candidate's record. 

Leif Dautch and Nancy Tung are also running for the district attorney's office. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.