D.A. Chesa Boudin Gets Tough On Crime After Securing Release Of His Cop-Killing Terrorist Father

Chris Menahan
Nov. 23, 2021

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has decided to get tough on crime and drop his commitment to "social justice" just weeks after securing the release of his cop-killing terrorist father.

Boudin's affluent parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, were both members of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group and were jailed in the 80s for taking part in the murder of police officers Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown during a bank heist.

Boudin told 60 Minutes in March their case showed that "our criminal justice system is not working" because they were "unarmed getaway drivers" (for their well-armed compatriots who carried out the murders).

Boudin's mother, after getting out of prison in 2003, became an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and went on to co-found the Center for Justice at Columbia University.

Boudin's father in late October was granted clemency from a 75-year sentence by disgraced New York governor Andrew Cuomo just before being kicked out of office.

As The Jewish News reported on Oct 28:
David Gilbert, the 77-year-old Jewish father of San Francisco's chief prosecutor Chesa Boudin, was granted parole this week and will be released Nov. 30 after spending 40 years in prison for participating in a politically motivated armed robbery.

Boudin, the progressive district attorney profiled in J. two years ago, described in a public message his relief and gratitude, as well as his concern for the victims of his father's crime, which left three people dead in a shootout in upstate New York. Gilbert was unarmed during the incident, according to multiple media reports.

"My father was granted release on parole today, after more than 40 years in prison!" Boudin wrote in a tweet on Tuesday next to a crying emoji and a heart.

"I am so grateful to the Parole Board. I'm also grateful to everyone who has supported my father during his more than 4 decades behind bars," he wrote, adding: "I'm thinking about the other children affected by my father's crime, and want to make sure that nothing I do or say further upsets the victims' families. Their loved ones will never be forgotten."

In 1981, Boudin's father and mother, Kathy Boudin, both members of the left-wing militant group the Weather Underground, took part in an ambush of an armored truck carrying more than $1 million in cash in Rockland County, New York. The robbery, which was planned by the Black Liberation Army and the May 19th Communist Organization, according to the New York Times, led to a shootout that resulted in the deaths of Sgt. Edward O'Grady and Officer Waverly Brown of the Nyack Police Department and Brink's guard Peter Paige.

Gilbert was sentenced to 75-years-to-life for felony murder. But in August, in the waning hours of a gubernatorial term curtailed by allegations of sexual harassment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo commuted Gilbert's sentence, citing his contributions to AIDS education and prevention while in prison, and his work teaching and serving in the law library.

"He has served 40 years of a 75-year sentence, related to an incident in which he was the driver, not the murderer," Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

Gilbert grew up in a Jewish family in the Boston area where he celebrated his bar mitzvah, Boudin told J. in the 2019 interview. Boudin's mother is also Jewish and grew up "more secular" in New York, he said. Her connection to Judaism intensified in prison, where she served for 22 years before her release in 2003.

Boudin has said that his identity as a Jew and his experience having two incarcerated parents have each informed his approach to the criminal justice system.

He said Judaism has been a "constant theme in my life," symbolizing to him the "fight for survival in the face of adversity" and discrimination.
Boudin's identity as a social justice warrior has shifted now that his terrorist father has secured his release.

On Monday, Boudin announced he's going to be charging those seen flash looting Louis Vuitton and other high-end retail stores over the weekend with felonies.

"I'm outraged by the looting in Union Square last night," Boudin said on Twitter. "We are seeing similar crimes across the country. I have a simple message: don't bring that noise to our City. Great work by SFPD. Standby for felony charges."

On Wednesday, Boudin charged one woman accused of stealing $40k in merchandise from Target with a whopping eight felony counts of grand theft and 120 misdemeanor counts of petty theft.

Boudin's pivot may also be driven in part by the fact he has been forced into a recall election as backlash has continued to grow over his prior refusal to prosecute clear-cut criminals.

Now that Boudin has gotten his it appears that's all going to change.

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