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tv   NBC Bay Area News Tonight  NBC  October 25, 2021 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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good evening. this is nbc bay area news tonight. i'm raj mathai. last night our exclusive report exposing the problems and dysfunction within the district attorney's office chesa boudin. top attorneys who parted ways with the da now want him out of office. tonight we're joined by two of those attorneys and by one of the leaders who still works for the district attorney. she is ready to defend chesa boudin. and we're going to take a look at why other counties in the bay area should be aware of what's happening in san francisco. that's coming up in just a few minutes. let's start, though, with this storm, the biggest storm we've seen in decades. in fact, it was the third biggest storm to hit the bay area since 1950. think about that. the rain is now done. we know that. but the cleanup is not.
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a lot of damage all around us. flooding, landslides, downed trees and power outages, you name it. we saw just about everything in these last 24 hours. in santa rosa, let's start in the north bay, families are cleaning up after water went into their homes. last night the fire department went door to door, evacuating 95 families along neatomis avenue. this is cell phone video showing people getting into a raft so they can be pulled to safety. most of the evacuees are home tonight, which is great news. but one apartment complex is red-tagged. >> oh, here comes some water. here comes some water. here comes a lot of water. oh, my gosh, here comes a recycle can. >> oh my god. look how high it's getting. >> yep, it's getting high. in san francisco the public works department says crews removed more than 700 trees and big branches brought down by this storm. you saw it around the city.
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blocked roads, others of those trees and branches damage power lines, and others ended up literally on parked cars. a restaurant in north beach had half of a tree fall on a roof forcing it to close until repairs can be made. in the south bay, the rapidly rushing guadalupe river trapped two people in this fast-moving current. when firefighters arrived, they found a homeless encampment being swept away. they rescued one person in the creek clinging to a tree. they searched for the second person, but didn't find anyone. it's unclear whether that person made it out safely or was swept away. here is look how much the guadalupe river rose because of the storm. these are before and after photos. you see the before and now you see the after, snapped by our own chris chmura. pretty glaring to see that there. a mess in millbrae. look at this. this is last night near the bart station. so many locations across the bay area looking like this. and here is what it looked like
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today. well, cars splashing right through our camera. cars still stuck in the standing water and having to be towed out. at this hour, the water is still being cleaned up. let's bring in nbc bay area's marianne favro. how bad was it last night, because you were also there, and what are you seeing right now? >> it was really bad out here. we saw standing water as high as 5 inches. and for cars that decided to race through the flooded areas, it did not turn out well. many of them hydroplaned or they stalled. if you look over here, you can see one car that tried to go through the flooding. now right now across the way on millbrae avenue, here in millbrae, you can see that they brought in special trucks. what these trucks are doing is sucking out the excess water to clear the flood zones. the reason that there was so much flooding here is simply because there was a temporary pump station. and with the high level of rainfall we saw last night, that
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temporary station became overwhelmed. it just couldn't handle all of that rain. so the cleanup can'ts. but i just talked with city crews. and they hope to get the job done within the next hour and they can reopen the other section of mill gray. >> you can see the activity behind you near that in and out burgener millbrae. give us an update on the power outages, specifically where you are and really, along the peninsula. >> well, the peninsula was hit the hardest. right now there are about 16,000 customers without power throughout the bay area. pg&e says about 45,000 people still do not have power tonight. and it may not be until midnight tomorrow night before power is restored to all of those customers. >> okay. hang in there for everyone on the peninsula. even without your power tonight. marianne favro reporting tonight. thank you. what about the reservoirs? did the storm do anything significant for our reservoirs in terms of the drought? our sky ranger at the lexington
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reservoir in los gatos. right before the storm, it was about 18% full. today it's at 20%. so a nice little bump. for some perspective now, a few years ago, it was at 99% capacity. how about the guadalupe reservoir south of san jose? it's now nearly at 11% capacity. two years ago, three years ago 63% capacity. so you see the difference there, what this drought is doing. and the difference between the last two, three, and four years. a lot of you helped tell the story of this storm by sending us your photos and your video. a lot of downed trees over the past couple of days. check out this video of tree branches literally falling off, breaking off, and falling. this is in saratoga from andre leonard. he sent us these images captured by his ring camera. it's the tall tree in the middle of your screen. you can actually see the branches crashing, there it is, crashing to the ground. all the rain here means a lot of much needed snow in the sierra. demi mcdonald sending us this
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photo of the snowfall near tahoe city. it looks beautiful. we always want to see your photos and videos from every storm. tag us on our social media, twitter, instagram, facebook at nbc bay area. our other big topic tonight, is he helping or hurting the cause in san francisco? we continue to expose the problems inside the district attorney's office. chesa boudin, the embattled da is fighting for his job. some of his own prosecutors accuse the d.a. of making san francisco even more dangerous. senior had the investigate with two of those attorneys. >> reporter: major retail stores across san francisco have become crime scenes. gun violence has doubled this year. burglaries are at the highest levels in recent history. and car break-ins have spiked more than 150% in parts of the city, according to police records we obtained. >> we are seeing repeat
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offenders and dangerous individuals be released before they should be. >> reporter: prosecutor brooke jenkins has convicted some of san francisco's most violent criminals, but says since chesa boudin took over as district attorney last year, he's made it impossible for her to do her job. you honestly believe that the city's top law enforcement officer is actually making san francisco more dangerous? >> yes. public safety is not his focus. the needs and the rights of victims are being ignored. and that is the problem here. >> reporter: in protest, jenkins quit last week. and on the same day, for many of the same reasons, so did he coworker, long-time prosecutor don dubain. both layers say they've joined the effort to recall bud dean. >> i've seen decisions made in this office last year since chesa took over that shocked my conscience, and i've been a prosecutor for 30 years.
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>> reporter: testimonies obtained by our investigative unit shows at least 51 attorneys have either left or been fired from the san francisco d.a.'s office since bud boudin was elected. they argue the d.a. regularly sides with those attorneys over his own staff in deciding how to charge criminals. >> if i would not simply agree to what was being requested of me by a public defender, they would go directly to chesa, or i would receive an email where chesa was copied indicating that they wanted a particular outcome in the case. >> i want to be clear here. you're saying that lawyers in the public defender's office essentially are getting to boss around attorneys in the d.a.'s office? >> that's the way that it feels, yes. >> everybody, please put your hands together for chesa boudin! >> reporter: on thursday, the district attorney held what he described as an anti-recall
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rally. >> we will do whatever it takes to prevent violence, to keep our communities safe, and to hold those in power accountable. >> reporter: the d.a. wouldn't talk to us about the latest criticism from his former attorneys. but a spokesperson for his office rejected the accusations. in a statement saying the d.a. is prosecuting criminals at the same rate as previous district attorneys and other nearby counties. and adds boudin is expanding services and support for crime victims and ewing bold approaches to end gun violence, including prosecuting the makers of untraceable weapons known as ghost guns. >> joining us tonight, those two prosecutors who want chesa boudin out, brooke jenkins and don du bain. we also invited the district attorney to join us tonight in response to the allegations and his potential recall election. chesa boudin declined, but instead joining us from the d.a.'s office is assistant district attorney du maris
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evans. thanks for joining us this evening. let me just start. i think we all share something in common here, all four of us. we want san francisco to be better and to be safer, the city we all fell in love with. i know all three of you want that as well. but it's a measure of how we get there. is chesa boudin doing a good job, just a flat simple question for you. >> yes, absolutely. >> you see a lot of pushback, not just this last few weeks, but the last several months that he is not within the community. how do you respond to that? how does he respond to that? >> chesa is doing an excellent job as the d.a. and, in fact, he has expanded a number of programs for victims and survivors of crime. so the allegations that he is not serious about prosecuting crimes and that he is making san francisco less safe is patently
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false. >> i'll bring in brooke and don in a moment. the number in the report, 51 attorneys or people in your office have left or been fired. that seems to be a very high turnover. how do you respond to those people that have left? what are your conversations with them? >> well, i absolutely haven't had a direct conversation with either brooke or don, which is interesting because i'm actually the managing attorney for the justice unit and the collaborative courts. and if either of them thought that alternatives incarceration weren't being utilized in our office, i would have expected them to spoke to me about those concerns. but neither one of them has ever checked in with me regarding our office's priority of implementing alternatives to the criminal justice system that focus on rehabilitation as well as centering the voices of
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survivors and victims of crime. >> brooke, let's bring you in here. i don't want to get into the weeds of the interoffice politics here. was there a specific reason or a case of why you decided to leave this office? >> yes. ultimately, the final straw for me came during a murder trial that i prosecuted a few months ago where i obtained a guilty verdict in that case, and we moved on to the second phase of that trial where the defense had the burden of proving that the defendant was insane. when the defense was unable to do that and the jury hung, i agreed with the public defender that we would allow the judge who had overseen the trial to make the ultimate decision based on all of the evidence that he had seen during the trial. that public defender then sent an email to me copying chesa boudin and attempting to
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circumvent that agreement and asking that our office simply agree that her client was insane in order for him to avoid prison for this brutal and heinous murder, which would put him in a position to be potentially released back into the public within a year without ever discussing any of the facts of my case or the evidence or my opinion, chesa through an intermediary directed me to enter into that agreement that the defendant was insane. and i simply was not willing to do that, given the state of the evidence. and i ultimately withdrew from the case. and so at this point -- >> go ahead, please. >> at this point, it's the opinions and viewpoints of his most experienced and senior prosecutors are not going to be taken into account when it comes to these types of cases, it signals are major problem.
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>> are you saying just to be clear here, that chesa boudin is allowing violent offenders to walk free, without any rehab, without any counselling, without any other repercussions? >> at times that is the case. and we have seen that. the troy mccallister case in which the two innocent women were run down in the crosswalk last december 31st is an example of that. >> don, really quick, before we go to a commercial break, i want to get you in. you've been a prosecutor for 30 years you. say this office is going in the wrong direction. why? >> oh, absolutely. for the same reason that brooke just stated. i don't believe that chesa boudin is taking his responsibility as the chief law enforcement officer of the city seriously. i don't think his priorities to protect public safety or the victims of crime in san francisco. i think his priorities are mostly just to satisfy a political agenda of his and to
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try to create some sort of good public perception of his policies, but in fact the actual management of the office is making san francisco a lot more dangerous. >> demarris, i'm going get to you in just a second. stay with us.
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welcome back to nbc bay area news tonight. we're talking about the problems in san francisco. how much blame should we place
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on the d.a. chesa boudin? today organizers of the recall campaign announced they've gather in order than 83,000 signatures. those signatures still have to be verified, but it should be enough to force a recall election next june. let's continue our conversation now with two former prosecutors who recently resigned from chesa boudin's office, brooke jenkins and don du bain. we're also joined by assistant district attorney demarris evans. thanks to all of you staying with us through the break here. demarris, let's get to you now. pretty serious comments from your former colleagues here saying you often or occasionally will let criminals walk right through the door without any repercussions. i'll let you respond to that. >> yes, thank you so much, raj. and first i want to respond to ms. jenkins' representation about the case where the insanity defense was raised. and those statements were just false. three out of four doctors found this person to be insane, including two court-appointed
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doctors. and ms. jenkins isn't indicating and letting folks know that the victim's own family strongly supported a finding of insanity. so it was only after the jury hung 7-5 in favor of insanity and the other factors that the d.a. intervened in this case. so on the one hand, there is claims that the d.a. is not favoring what victims want. but on the other hand, when we have this case where the victim's family strongly desired an insanity plea, there is complaints that that's what ultimately happened. in this case, we listened to the victim, and we did what they wanted, and there are still complaints, which just shows this is something to complain against the chesa boudin's administration's ultimate goals, which is reform, which is reform of the criminal justice system. and that means relying on alternatives to incarceration. so these prosecutors, it's not about whether or not he is doing
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a good job. it's just their opposition to his platform of having alternatives to incarceration. it's absolutely untrue that we don't have alternatives and that we're not using rehabilitation. again, i was hired specifically to work in the restorative justice unit. and again, if there was a claim that we were not allowing folks to engage in rehabilitation or other alternatives, then that claim should have come directly to me. if the two prosecutors were concerned about public safety and whether or not folks were having access to rehabilitation services, then that would have come directly to me. those allegations are just clearly false. >> don, can you understand the frustration from just people just living in san francisco hearing both sides of this that you all used to work together, yet we still can't find a common ground here? what is the case? why isn't there better communication within that own department that you worked in for so long? >> well, i don't think that
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either brooke or i are disagreeing with the value of restorative justice programs or progressive programs that aim to keep people, especially our youth out of the criminal justice system and to rehabilitate those who are already involved in the criminal justice system. i don't think either ms. jenkins nor i have any qualms about that or any disagreement. in fact, we're very proud to work for an office that, the san francisco district attorney's office that has a history of progressive district attorneys, including kamala harris, our now vice president, as well as george gascon. so that's really not the issue that brooke and i are raising. what we're talking about are the offenders, the criminal offenders who have long histories of violent convictions. troy mcallister, who was mentioned by brooke just now, troy mcallister had eight prior
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felony convictions and was looking at a potential life sentence while in custody pending trial during the five years that george gascon was the district attorney. within two months of chesa taking over as district attorney, he cut a deal with troy mcallister to release him from custody immediately for the time that he had already served, notwithstanding his eight prior felony convictions, three of which were violent and serious felonies including two robberies and attempted carjacking. chesa cut a deal allowing troy mcallister out of custody immediately. and within nine month, troy mcallister was arrested four times, once for residential burglary, three times for car thefts until the afternoon of december 31st. and by the way, was never -- in none of those arrests did chesa ever file charges by our office
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against him. and on the afternoon of december 31st, troy mcallister drove downtown into the heart of our city in a stolen vehicle while intoxicated at 60 to 70 miles per hour and struck these two innocent women crossing the street, killing them both. these are the kind of criminal offenders that brooke and i believe are not being adequately prosecuted to the full extent of the law by mr. boudin. and in fact, troy mcallister never should have been let out of custody in the first place for that five-year sentence time served to be ever able in a position to kill those two innocent women. >> a lot of people remember that story. if i can jump in, a lot of people remember that story very well. >> it's a complete false flag. it's an argument that had someone been in prison, they wouldn't have been able to commit crime. that same argument doesn't apply to times people are released
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from custody and commit crimes all the time. but the only difference here is you have someone whose administration you don't like and you want to cast the blame on them. >> demarris, let me jump in here. if i can jump in here, if you forgive me here, is chesa boudin doing what the voters wanted him to do? >> absolutely. chesa is running on a platform of systemic reform. and it's no way that you can claim that you're in favor of systemic reform, someone who is looking at root causes of crime, not sensationalizing an individual case and using fearmongering and talking about all the details of one or two individual cases and then using that to scare people into blaming chesa boudin for these things. because if the people were in custody, this wouldn't have happened. you can say that about any case in any jurisdiction. but in this particular jurisdiction, we have someone who is committed to systemic reform, to using alternatives to
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incarceration to get to the root causes of crime. so you can't pick and choose one were to individuals' sensationalized cases and say that chesa is not accomplishing what he ran on, a platform that he ran on, which was to bring reform to a broken criminal justice system. if mass incarceration was doing its job, the united states will be the most safe country in the world. we incarcerate on a mass level more people than any other industrialized country. and yet we have the highest rates of violence. we have the highest rates of property crime. so it's clear that mass incarceration is an abject failure. >> demarris -- >> we need to put more people in custody and we need to leave them in custody for longer periods of time. that strategy has failed. and there is no defense for it. >> demarris, if i can jump in here we can go on for a long
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time. -- >> realizing that. that's the facts. >> brooke, chesa boudin doing what voters want him to do or will we see a recall go the other way next june? >> he is not what voters want him to do. what they wanted him to do was find alternatives to incarceration while balancing the need to keep the city safe. that is his job, and that's what they elected him to do. and that's what he is failing at. and the perspectives of ms. evans are respected, but again, she is one of his colleagues that he brought over from the san francisco public defender's office. so she is going to maintain these positions. and don and i are not arguing for mass incarceration. what we are arguing for is balance and trying to explain to voters that chesa lacks the balance that is necessary to take into account public safety and the interests of what serves justice for a defendant.
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that is the issue. >> we appreciate the time. we are out of time. again, we could go on for a long time about this, and we will continue our conversation. we thank you, brooke jenkins, don du bain, and demarris evans from the d.a.'s office. we appreciate your time and your insight tonight. good night to all of you.
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