San Francisco – Members of the Board of Supervisors, current and former Police Commissioners and community leaders came together Monday to publicly denounce the attempt of the Police Officers Association (POA) to buy the District Attorney’s race.
Speakers included: Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer, Matt Haney, and Hillary Ronen; current and former Police Commissioners Cindy Elias, David Campos and Bill Ong Hing; and community leaders Father Richard Smith, Phelicia Jones and John Crew, all of whom have been very active in police reform work. The speakers were joined by two dozen community members upset by the POA attacks.
“Given their history, I am not surprised but profoundly disappointed in the Police Officers Association’s use of their member dues to fund the spread of lies about a District Attorney candidate,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, wife of a 35-year veteran of the Police Department. “With this amount of spending, it is clear they are trying to mislead voters and buy the election.”
In only two weeks, the independent expenditure committee set up by the POA has spent upwards of $650,000 to spread misinformation and oppose one candidate for District Attorney, Chesa Boudin. Their spending has paid for nasty attack ads seeking to villainize the candidate who is running on a criminal justice reform platform.
The candidate being targeted by the POA, Chesa Boudin, is running on a platform of equal justice, which he says applies to police officers who break the law.
This kind of opposition in a District Attorney’s race is unprecedented in San Francisco— but this kind of opposition spending from the Police Officers Association, to fund misleading and alarmist attacks, is nothing new.
“You have to consider the source and the motivation when you look at these paid attacks,” said John Crew, long-term police reform specialist. “The POA’s top priority is avoiding accountability– just look at the amount of money that they spend on political ads and lawyers. This is their track record. This is what they do.”
Several speakers pointed out the multiple occasions during which the Police Officers Association has been on the wrong side of history in the last decade, including the defense of racist text messages, the resistance to police reforms put forth by the Department of Justice, and the personal attacks on elected officials who advocate for criminal justice reform.
“The POA, which has been known to make racist, anti-immigrant, and homophobic statements, is now trying to buy an election by using scare tactics. San Francisco residents know better and will roundly reject the POA’s misguided and hateful ads, just as residents have done with prior attempts by the POA to push archaic measures that harm the public, such as the failed measure on tasers,” said Angela Chan, former member of the San Francisco Police Commission.