San Francisco mayor’s pick for interim district attorney sparks criticism by candidates

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco has a new district attorney.

Suzy Loftus, a former prosecutor and president of the San Francisco Police Commission will take over the district attorney’s office on an interim basis until an election is held early next month.

The decision comes just one day after current District Attorney George Gascon abruptly resigned.

Gascon’s last day is Oct. 18, just over two weeks before election day, but Mayor London Breed says the DA position cannot sit vacant until January when the new permanent one is sworn in.

“When I received the letter yesterday from the district attorney announcing his resignation, I couldn’t help but get excited about the future because I know that Suzy Loftus is the right person to do this job,” Breed said. 

But not everyone thinks so.

The announcement was initially set to take place at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown.

But they were forced to change venues at the last moment due to protests by police reform advocates who stormed the park chanting “jail killer cops.”

Loftus says she hopes those people will give her a chance.

“For anyone whose trust I have yet to earn, I will work everyday to earn your trust,” Loftus said. “I will work everyday to build safety that is not predicated on zip code. I will work everyday to build a justice system that is not for the privileged few but that works for all of us.”

Loftus is one of four candidates running for district attorney in November.

The others are Nancy Tung, Leif Dautch and Chesa Boudin.

Loftus takes over on an interim basis until a new DA is sworn-in in January.

Critics of the move say Breed appointing a candidate she endorsed gives Loftus an unfair advantage over her rivals.

The ACLU is speaking out against it as are other prominent progressive city politicians.

Breed is defending the appointment.

Breed’s decision to appoint Loftus interim district attorney comes just 32 days before Loftus was to face off against three others for the post on election day.

“This is an obvious power play by the establishment,” said candidate Chesa Boudin.

The mayor has said she could not afford to have an absence of leadership in the DA’s office but Loftus’ opponents find that absurd.

“We’re talking about 18 days before the election,” said another candidate Nancy Tung. 

Candidate Leif Dautch says the move is outrageous. 

“So this idea that the DA’s office needs new leadership to lead the office during that time is outrageous,” he said.

Ultimately though, Loftus’ opponents believe the mayor’s decision to give her choice a leg up will backfire.

“It won’t work , the people in this city are excited about the first district attorney’s race in over a century,” Boudin said.

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