EXCLUSIVE: New SF DA explains how she plans to clean up city, hold criminals accountable

Stephanie Sierra Image
Thursday, July 14, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: New SF DA explains how she plans to clean up city
San Francisco's District Attorney Jenkins spoke exclusively to ABC7 News, laying out her main priorities as the city's new top prosecutor

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Four days into the job, San Francisco's new District Attorney Brooke Jenkins reinforces her promise to clean up the city and hold criminals accountable. The question is, how will she do it?

In a one-on-one interview, Jenkins spoke exclusively to ABC7, laying out her main priorities as the city's new top prosecutor - everything from cracking down on property crime, drug dealers, and rising hate crimes targeting the Asian American community.

Stephanie Sierra: "Brooke, within nine months, you've gone from working for the DA to now assuming the job. At any point during the recall, did you think becoming the next DA was a possibility?"

Brooke Jenkins: "No. No, I have to say, I started in the DA's office in 2014 as a volunteer attorney in an unpaid position. And at no point could I have imagined I'd be sitting here talking to you as San Francisco's District Attorney."

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 1-on-1 with new SF DA Brooke Jenkins

New San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins sat down for a one-on-one interview with ABC7 News. The D.A. discusses her plans to be tough on crime, reform her office, and her relationship with Mayor London Breed.

Stephanie: "You've been in office now for four days. One of the reasons Chesa Boudin was recalled was because of his bad relationship with the San Francisco Police Department. Since your appointment, there is renewed hope that will change. What are you doing to fix that relationship?"

Brooke: "It takes communication and expressing to the police department and Chief Scott that we want to work collaboratively with them in order to achieve our unified mission, which is public safety in San Francisco."

Stephanie: "One of the reasons you were appointed is because of your promise to hold criminals accountable--restore law and order in San Francisco. How specifically do you plan to do that?"

Brooke: "I think you have to take it, you know, one issue at a time, I think we have to start addressing repeat and violent offenders. First, that needs to be our main priority. So that we are addressing those who continually commit crimes in San Francisco, continue to victimize people in a violent way...making sure that they are held accountable. Because I think we've created an environment where people think there are no consequences for their actions."

RELATED: SF mayor announces Brooke Jenkins new DA to replace Chesa Boudin

Stephanie: "To get specific, what policies will look different under your leadership?"

Brooke: "You know, we are still working on that. As I talked to my management team, we are coming up with our solution to what the new policies will be. You know, I don't want to come in and throw the baby out with the bathwater... some of what the previous administration was doing. It can be, you know, held onto, but may need to be refined."

Stephanie: "People are fed up with property crime, what will you do to crack down?"

Brooke: "We can no longer turn a blind eye to the way that property crime affects our quality of life. And so it will be those crimes that we are now taking more seriously."

Stephanie: "Taking more seriously, how?"

Brooke: "Meaning we won't be, you know, trying to find the easiest way to get those cases off of our attorney's desks."

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Stephanie: "San Francisco police want access to use more private cameras, especially in areas like Union Square, where there has been smash-and-grab robberies. You've announced you're backing Mayor Breed's police surveillance plan, which expands police access to private cameras to help respond to crime. Some people are worried about privacy and some people are worried about safety. How do you think these cameras will be useful in prosecuting cases?"

Brooke: "We want to make sure as a DA's office that we have the evidence necessary to bring perpetrators to justice. Juries in 2020 want video evidence."

Stephanie: "Let's talk about your first meeting with your staff. It was described by SF Gate as 'icy'....what happened from your perspective?"

Brooke: "You know, any change in administration is new, it's uncomfortable for people. And that's understandable. As I said to them, and as the article pointed out, I came into the room to extend my hand...which was to say, I no longer want us to be an office that is divided by who hired you."

VIDEO: Former SF DA predicted Brooke Jenkins would replace him

Recalled San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin told ABC7 News Anchor Liz Kreutz in May that Mayor London Breed would appoint Brooke Jenkins if he was removed from office.

Stephanie: "Do you think Chesa will run against you in November?"

Brooke: "I really have no idea, but that's completely up to him."

According to the San Francisco Dept. of Elections, Chesa Boudin has not yet filed any paperwork to run for DA in November as the nomination period has yet to open. The deadline to file paperwork to run is August 12.

For more of our interview with DA Jenkins, watch below.