SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Brooke Jenkins was sworn-in as San Francisco District Attorney midday Friday after she was appointed to the position by Mayor London Breed.
Jenkins, a former assistant district attorney who quit the DA’s office last October in protest of the policies of her predecessor, Chesa Boudin, accepted the appointment.
“I want to thank Mayor London Breed for giving me the honor of serving this city as your next district attorney,” Jenkins said. “I am truly humbled by this opportunity.”
Jenkins said she first knew she wanted to be a lawyer from watching the NBC-TV show “Matlock.”
“That’s how old I am,” she joked.
“When I first showed up at the University of Chicago Law School, I didn’t know what kind of lawyer I wanted to be,” Jenkins said, adding she decided on civil law, but decided to become a prosecutor when her son Justice died.
“It’s a feeling you cannot describe,” Jenkins said. “And from that point forward I was committed to serving my community and victims.”
In 2014, Jenkins joined the DA’s office.
“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in San Francisco,” she said. “Never have I ever in my eight years in criminal justice heard San Franciscans express [this] level of lack of safety in our city. … Crime and safety surpassed the concern over COVID in the last two years, and we all know how concerning COVID has been.”
Jenkins said she plans to “restore the accountability and the consequences that have been lost in the justice system in San Francisco. Violent and repeat offenders can no longer be allowed to victimize this city without any consequence. Our Asian American community can no longer be left feeling scared to move around our city and conduct basic daily functions without an escort or worrying about being attacked. That must end now.”
Jenkins was chosen in spite of being the public face of the Boudin recall. Breed said this is not a choice between law-and-order and criminal justice reform.
“Despite even being victims of crime and experiencing challenges with our criminal public system,” San Franciscans “want accountability but also don’t want to abandon our values to reform our criminal justice system so that it is fairer,” Breed said.
“At the end of the day, this district attorney represents all San Franciscans,” she added. “As someone who has had to prosecute for sexual assault, for issues around domestic violence, as someone who has had to deal with hate crimes and homicides, the stories I’ve heard of victims and issues that exist, I know first-hand she [Jenkins] has the ability to look at these cases, work with a strong team and make sure that the victim is a part of the decision every step of the way.”
Breed said that “for people arrested multiple times, eventually there has to be consequences.”
“There is not an easy solution to each of these individual cases,” Breed said. “I trust Brooke Jenkins to make the right decisions in these cases with the right team of prosecutors and community members by her side.”
Breed said “we need a district attorney who can work with the police department, who can work with the sheriff’s department, who can work with the board of supervisors, who can work with the mayor.”
“The time for blaming everyone else is over,” she said.
In a statement, Boudin, who was ousted by 55% of San Francisco voters last month, stated that he’d assist with the transition.
“It has been my honor to serve as San Francisco’s district attorney as we worked for a safer and more just city. I am proud of the work we did to serve victims and to bring much-needed reforms and accountability to our justice system. This is work I will continue in the months and years ahead,” Boudin stated. “I have reached out to Brooke Jenkins to offer any assistance I can provide in ensuring a smooth transition.”
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Boudin stated his legacy will live on.
“I am tremendously humbled by the strong, talented team my administration has built, which will continue to serve San Franciscans,” he stated. “I am proud of the new programs my administration has launched to promote safety and justice in our city despite unprecedented challenges. I am deeply grateful for the dedicated staff at the District Attorney’s Office who work tirelessly every single day to promote justice for the people of San Francisco. Our work continues.”
There is talk Boudin will run again for the seat in November, when voters will have the chance to pass their judgement on the appointment.