SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The San Francisco District Attorneys Office announced that they will no longer charge people with possession of contraband resulting from stop-and-frisk style searches, or base sentencing on prior strikes, except in extraordinary circumstances.
These are the latest directives to be implemented by District Attorney Chesa Boudin which also include ending use of California’s three strikes law and sentence enhancements based on gang affiliation. Boudin’s office will seek sentences based on the person’s present conduct, such as weapons used or injury to victims, rather than the person’s past history.
These policies become the first of their type to be implemented in the nation, which the District Attorneys Office says are grounded in “evidence-based public safety policies.”
All of these policies are subject to exception if a suspect presents a grave risk to public safety or crime victims, according to the District Attorneys Office.
“Pretextual stops and sentencing enhancements based on who you know rather than what you did are relics of the tough-on-crime era that failed to make us safer,” said District Attorney Boudin. “Instead, they led to mass incarceration, targeted innocent black and brown drivers, and increased recidivism. They stand in the way of fairness and justice.”
In San Francisco, black drivers are stopped at five times their representation in the city’s population and searched three times more often than white drivers despite these searches of being less likely to yield results according to the 2020 Racial Identity and Profiling Advisory Board Report. The study, which analyzed 1.8 million traffic stops statewide, found that drugs were only present in 1.3 percent of traffic stops, and firearms or ammunition seized in just 0.6 percent.
In 2019, more than 90 percent of adults with a gang enhancement in state prison were either black or Latinx, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data.
“Pretextual stops, just like stop and frisk, overwhelmingly target communities of color,” said San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton. “These policies, along with gang enhancements and other status enhancements, have contributed to abhorrent racial disparities in this city’s criminal system, resulted in excessive sentences, and have not made us any safer. The constitutionality of these stops has always been in question and it is time to end them.”
The San Francisco Police Officers Association has criticized the policy change.
“In his short tenure, Chesa Boudin has demonstrated that he is a clear and present danger to the law-abiding residents, businesses and visitors of San Francisco,” said San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya. “Get pulled over and have an illegal handgun or AR-15? No problem, Boudin will throw your case out. Have 10 pounds of Meth all in small plastic bags ready for sale? No problem, Boudin will toss that case too. It’s unconscionable that Boudin would let someone with an illegal gun go free, only to allow them the opportunity to arm themselves again. Chesa Boudin is emboldening criminals and we are all going to pay a steep price for his absurd policies.”