San Francisco, CA – A public defender who is the son of two cop killers and has never prosecuted a criminal case in his life became the district attorney of crime-ridden San Francisco in the city’s latest election.
San Francisco District Attorney-Elect Chesa Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, two members of The Weather Underground who were convicted of murdering two police officers and a Brinks security guard during an armed robbery in 1981, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin, 39, was endorsed by Presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), singer John Legend, and the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, as well as several first-term radical liberal prosecutors including Chicago’s beleaguered Cook County Prosecutor Kim Foxx and Philadelphia’s cop-hating district attorney, Larry Krasner.
Activist Shaun King’s Real Justice PAC and a lot of other money from outside the state of California filled the public defender’s campaign coffers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Boudin was 14 months old when both of his parents left him with a sitter while they committed an armored car robbery in upstate New York, NBC News reported.
After his parents went to prison, he was raised by The Weather Underground’s leaders, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, in a life of privilege that led him to Yale University.
After college, Boudin won a Rhodes scholarship and then worked as a translator for the late Communist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to NBC News.
“Growing up, I had to go through a metal detector and steel gates just to give my parents a hug,” Boudin said in one of his campaign videos.
His mother, Kathy Boudin, was released from prison in 2003 after serving 22 years for the murders, but his father, David Gilbert, remains behind bars serving life in prison, NBC News reported.
The newly-elected district attorney ran his campaign on criminal justice reform, claiming that he was also a “victim” of his parents’ armed robbery in 1981 that left three people dead, two of them police officers.
Boudin has claimed he was motivated to run for office because he has experienced the results of the “destructive effects of mass incarceration,” NBC News reported.
He campaigned on a promise of sweeping reforms and beat an establishment favorite, interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus.
Boudin said his victory is a call for refocusing the criminal justice system on rehabilitation instead of incarceration or punishment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It sends a pretty loud and clear message that the war on drugs and the tough-on-crime policies and rhetoric of the 1990s and early 2000s are on their way out,” Boudin said after his win. “It shows that there’s a massive thirst for change.”
He said he believed his real-life experience with the prison system helped him win.
“It made them appreciate that this is not just a kind of opportunity for political gain or power — this is a life journey for me,” Boudin told the Los Angeles Times. “This is something I’ve been affected by, thinking about, working on pretty much my entire life, and not something I got interested in in law school.”
Although he hasn’t even taken office yet, the district attorney-elect is already espousing loftier political goals.
Boudin said he thinks the desire for criminal reform “is not limited to San Francisco.”
“I think people understand that the massive amount of money we’re spending on punishment is not making us safer and is really destroying our collective humanity in ways that are profound and far-reaching and deep seated,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
San Francisco State University Political Science Professor Jason McDaniel said that the success of Boudin’s campaign pledges is not a given though.
McDaniel said the new prosecutor won’t be able to implement his sweeping reforms without the support of law enforcement, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Will they get buy-in from the rank-and-file workers in the criminal justice system, the D.A.s, the sheriff?” he said. “That is not something that’s guaranteed.”