Skip to main content
Politics & Policy

‘Trump supporter,’ ‘bully’ and ‘racist’: Supervisor Connie Chan clashes with protesters

A person is being interviewed on a sunny street, holding a sign about local business concerns, with others holding a larger banner.
Protesters interrupt Supervisor Connie Chan’s interview with the press in the Richmond on Friday. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

A press conference hosted by San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan to call for more police in her district turned contentious Friday, with protesters bashing her record on public safety and accusing her of racism and Chan decrying one critic as a “Trump supporter” and another as a “bully.”

Chan had gathered with about 15 Richmond District merchants who have been the victims of burglaries and other crimes at the Beauty Network shop on Geary Boulevard to demand Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott allocate more police officers and street ambassadors to the neighborhood.

Chan is facing a tough reelection fight in November, with public safety taking center stage even though her District 1, which sits north of Golden Gate Park, has one of the lowest crime rates in San Francisco. 

Chan said she has repeatedly asked for more resources through an in-person conversation, a public meeting, and by emails and letters, but Breed has ignored her. Now she is starting a petition with the merchants.

As Chan spoke, a small group of protesters—including several holding giant signs criticizing her—showed up outside of the shop. The protesters remained peaceful during the press conference and stayed outside. 

After the event concluded, Chan walked out of the store and confronted them.

Protestors interrupt Supervisor Connie Chan as she tries to give a statement to the press on Friday. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

“You are the Trump supporter; I see that,” Chan said to one of her critics, Alan Burradell, while he called her “gaslighter, gaslighter, gaslighter.”

Conor Johnston, a former staffer and outspoken political ally of Breed’s, was among the protesters. 

“You are not as clever as you think you are,” Johnston yelled at Chan and asked her to respond to her previous controversial comment about dismantling the police department.

Chan raised her voice, saying, “Where is the mayor? Where has the mayor been? We don’t know where the mayor has been.”

She also called her detractors “bullies” as they kept interrupting her interview with a TV reporter. “We are frustrated that people can’t even let us talk,” she said.

A group of people conversing on a sunny sidewalk; two women and two men, one holding a paper, with a tree and parked cars.
Connie Chan's staffer Robyn Burke tries to separate the protesters from the supervisor. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

Johnston slammed Chan for some remarks reported Friday in the Chinese language press. Chan told Sing Tao Daily that Breed was lazy

Johnston, calling Breed a “strong Black woman,” asserted this was a racist stereotype.

“Do you want to apologize for that?” Johnston shouted at Chan.

Chan fired back at Johnston, saying, “Wow, you are assuming all Black people are lazy. Wow, that’s what you just said.”

The sidewalk clashes lasted about 10 minutes, and Chan left with her staffer.

The Richmond District has seen an increase in burglary incidents this year. The first quarter of 2024 had 107 reported incidents, while the same period in 2023 had 91, according to the San Francisco Police Department’s data dashboard. But the actual number may be higher as some merchants said that their places were broken into multiple times and they have stopped making reports.

A group of people in a shop, one holding a flyer, with hair products on shelves and microphones in the foreground.
Supervisor Connie Chan speaks to reporters about crimes against merchants and asks for more resources from Mayor London Breed. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

Sean Kim said that his ice cream store was broken into three times, and the police data is not accurate.

“This is not politics. It’s about surviving,” Kim said. “Business owners sometimes don’t report because they are busy.”

Chan’s most serious challenger in the November election is Marjan Philhour, a former Breed staffer who is campaigning on restoring public safety and labeling Chan as anti-police. Chan’s campaign messaging focuses on what she says are Breed’s failures in running the city.

“Marjan Philhour is covering up for the mayor’s incompetence by attacking me,” Chan said. “Because it’s easier to attack me than attack her own boss, isn’t it?”

Mason Lee, the mayor’s spokesperson, said Chan has not asked for any meetings with Breed to discuss public safety in the Richmond.

“If she wants to work with the mayor tackling neighborhood issues, she could start by actually asking her to sit down and talk about any ideas or solutions,” Lee said. “That’s the hard work that many of her colleagues do.”

Philhour worked on Breed’s 2018 mayoral campaign after the unexpected death of Mayor Ed Lee, and she joined Breed’s administration for a year and a half as a senior advisor. She left the Mayor’s Office in March 2020 to run for supervisor, but lost to Chan by 125 votes.

“Last I checked, Connie Chan is our elected supervisor,” Philhour said. “She has been at the helm for four years, and we are paying the price for a total leadership void.”