SF Mayor, New DA, Know What Will Solve This Mess, And It Is MORE DRUG WAR!
When people buy those Ring doorbell cameras, they do so to protect their own safety, so that they do not accidentally welcome an axe murderer into their home. It seems safe to say that they do not buy them so that the police can hijack them for the purposes of surveilling their community. But that is a thing that may be happening in San Francisco soon, now that progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin has been replaced, by the mayor who wanted him recalled, with District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, a tough on crime prosecutor who quit her job in the DA's office in order to lead the effort to recall Boudin as a "liberal."
So far, Jenkins has fired at least 16 people, including Arcelia Hurtado, the woman in charge of Boudin's Innocence Commission — dedicated to freeing those who had been wrongfully convicted as well as investigating police misconduct. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has asked Jenkins to keep the commission, but there's been no word from her office on the subject. She's also presided over a sudden and unprecedented rise in people being arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia — unprecedented charges which, weirdly, Jenkins claims had nothing to do with her. Even so, she and Mayor London Breed are ready to get their drug war on.
This is part of the reason they want to give police access to private security cameras. As it is, they can already tap into these cameras when there is an emergency or lives are in danger — but that's not good enough. They want to use these cameras so they can spy on people potentially making drug deals.
Despite the fact that the cops are currently only supposed to be able to get access to personal security cameras in emergency situations, they did use them to spy on citizens during the George Floyd protests.
In a Medium post defending the practice, Mayor London Breed also tried to make the "progressive" case for police state surveillance, arguing that it could be used to identify police misconduct and prevent people from being falsely accused of crimes (because they'll be able to be sure it's them, due to the video footage). Of course, people have been wrongly convicted with video evidence before.
In a comment to The Daily Beast, former San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Arcelia Hurtado said, “The mayor now controls the DA, and I think people should be very alarmed and be very, very wary of where their civil liberties are going, because they're trying to take us back to a police state where constitutional rights are trampled and police misconduct is overlooked."
Yes, they probably should be. They should probably also throw their Ring cameras in a box for a while until they can be sure that the cameras won't be used for nefarious purposes — possibly against them. Who knows? The police could see them talking to a friend and then arrest them for "drug dealing." The guy Jenkins put in charge of her homicide unit was forced out of his previous job in Solano County after withholding exculpatory evidence in a murder trial, so there are not, so far, a lot of scruples going around in that office.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse