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Politics & Policy

SF supervisors to vote on proxy battles connected to DA Chesa Boudin

Proxy battles are being waged in connection to District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who is seen here at a press conference in Potrero Hill on Nov. 23, 2021. | Camille Cohen

The gloves came off last week in the fight between the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney Chesa Boudin, with Police Chief Bill Scott breaking from an agreement over investigation of police shootings. But the war between law enforcement and the progressive prosecutor—who faces a June recall election—has other fronts, as two proxy battles are expected to be waged during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. 

The issues going before the board are the anticipated removal of pro-recall spokesperson Andrea Shorter from the Juvenile Probation Commission, and a proposed settlement in the police brutality case filed against the city by Dacari Spiers. 

Mayor London Breed’s reappointment of Shorter to the Juvenile Probation Commission last week was targeted by Rules Committee Chair Aaron Peskin, who at a committee meeting last week said Shorter’s participation in the recall campaign may present a conflict of interest that is “troubling,” and suggested her appointment should be submitted to the full board with no recommendation. 

Shorter, a spokesperson for the campaign to recall Boudin, has faced criticism over this position and a complaint was filed last year with the state’s political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission. The complaint—lodged by the San Francisco Democratic Party over Shorter’s appearance in a campaign mailer describing her as a victim’s rights advocate instead of pro-recall worker—was dismissed last month. 

When questioned on the issue, Shorter said, “Structurally, I am very aware of my role as commissioner” and pledged to ensure no conflicts would arise.

A motion to put Shorter’s reappointment before the Board of Supervisors, notably with no recommendation in favor or opposed—passed 2-1 with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman arguing in the minority that Shorter is“eminently qualified.” He also noted that he “was particularly leery over removing accomplished queer representation” on the Juvenile Probation Commission.

The proposed $700,000 settlement with Dacari Spiers, who was allegedly the victim of a criminal beating by San Francisco police Officer Terrance Stangel, will be the subject of a closed-session discussion. Supervisor Catherine Stefani moved to pull the settlement from the agenda after Police Chief Bill Scott announced he was breaking the agreement on police shootings and other critical incidents. In a letter to Boudin, Scott pointed to a DA’s Office investigator testifying that she felt pressured by superiors to remove evidence related to 911 calls that suggested Spiers was in a domestic dispute. A judge ruled that Hayashi’s testimony would not have benefited Stangel in his case. 

“I understand that the criminal process is separate from the city attorney’s defense of this case, but the facts and circumstances are absolutely relevant to both cases,”  Stefani said at last Tuesday’s Board meeting. “The settlement was constructed before the latest revelations about the DA’s questionable conduct, and possible obstruction of justice, through concealment of evidence in a related domestic violence case. I am very concerned about this case being nonchalantly brushed aside.”

After the case is discussed in closed session with counsel from the the City Attorney’s Office, supervisors are expected to vote in open session on whether to approve the settlement.