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San Francisco Police Chief William Scott announced Wednesday that his department would end an agreement with the district attorney’s office to cooperate on investigations of police shootings and other incidents.

The agreement, which was signed in July, was meant to ensure that police shootings, deaths of people in custody and other uses of force that result in serious injury would be independently investigated.


In the January 2022 episode of Discussions with DPIC, Contra Costa County, California District Attorney Diana Becton (pictured), speaks with Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham about the rise in reform prosecutors across the country, the inherent flaws in capital punishment that led her to work alongside other reform prosecutors to end the death penalty, and her efforts as district attorney to bring fairness and equity to the criminal legal system.

Becton is the first woman and first African American to serve as District Attorney in Contra Costa. Prior to becoming District Attorney in 2017, she served for twenty-two years as a judge in the county, where she was elected as the Contra County court’s Presiding Judge. She discusses with Dunham how her lived experiences shape how she sees her role as a District Attorney, the pushback against reform prosecutors who are women of color by those interested in maintaining the status quo, and the larger national movement to change America’s approach to criminal justice.


“District attorneys around the country are investigating officers in cases their predecessors had handled, raising the ire of police unions that say it undermines public safety…”



I have been familiar with violence all of my life. In fact, nearly all the people I know — folks with brown skin, or who are Black like me — are survivors of some kind of violence or crime. We are, however, also afflicted by a criminal justice system that has long viewed us with indifference at best. At worst, it meets us with hostility — and that creates a problem. Because a criminal justice system is supposed to resolve conflict, not perpetuate it.


SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced on August 25 they filed an amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, in support of the class action lawsuit brought by Kiara Ferrari Caldwell against Bad Boys Bail Bond Corporation.



In the state that once pioneered the punitive Three Strikes policy, a coalition of recently elected district attorneys is pushing back against mass incarceration.

“Politics is often defined or understood as the art of making a deal. But I think, at its best, it’s the art of making possible tomorrow that which we can’t even imagine today,” says Chesa Boudin, the district attorney of San Francisco County. The son of two members of the Weather Underground sentenced to long spells in prison, Boudin was narrowly elected in 2019 under San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system. He talks of the pain of growing up with imprisoned parents; of the collect calls he still receives every Saturday from his incarcerated father; and of his belief, inculcated in him from childhood, that simply locking people up is a failure of the political imagination. “My personal experience shapes me—my worldview, my fears and hopes, my dreams and aspirations,” he acknowledges.

Boudin and three other district attorneys—Republican Tori Verber Salazar of San Joaquin County, in the Central Valley (whose office didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article), and Democrats George Gascón of Los Angeles and Diana Becton of Contra Costa County—joined the Prosecutors Alliance of California in September 2020. Although their offices serve only four of the 58 counties in California, they represent more than 30 percent of the state’s population. The organization was established as a progressive alternative to the more conservative California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), which, for decades, has helped shape criminal justice priorities in the Golden State. In 2022, when 56 of those counties hold elections for their DAs, the number of Californians served by self-identifying progressive prosecutors could well reach the 50 percent mark.


People injured by police would be eligible for crime victim funds under bill by Chino lawmaker

How Chesa Boudin Is Pursuing His Promise to Reduce Incarceration