SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Police Chief Bill Scott and District Attorney Chesa Boudin on Tuesday denounced the recent rise in violent crimes in San Francisco, specifically the recent attacks on seniors that led to the deaths of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee and 76-year-old private investigator Jack Palladino.
Barely containing their outrage, Breed, Scott and Boudin spoke during a virtual press conference about what the city is doing to address violent crime while promising that those who committed the crimes would be held responsible for their actions.
Breed acknowledged that there has been an uptick in violent crime in San Francisco, saying that it reminded her of her childhood growing up in public housing when she sometimes lived in fear over street shootings.
"Yes, I loved my community. But there were so many days when I lived in fear because of the violence; because of the gun violence in particular," Breed said. "It was all too common to walk down the street and be on high alert."
Breed also spoke of the shock she felt seeing the brutal assault of Ratanapakdee in broad daylight on video and offered her sympathies to the family.
"I can't even imagine what his family is going through right now. It was heartbreaking. And the fact that another human being would do that to an elderly senior in our community is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen," said the mayor.
Ratanapakdee died Saturday morning at San Francisco General Hospital from the injuries he sustained from being violently knocked to the ground in the assault.
She also made reference to the assault on Palladino that coincidentally happened on the same day in front of the famed San Francisco private detective's home. Two assailants knocked him down as they tried to steal a camera from him.
Suspects have been arrested in both cases.
Breed went on to say that she was appearing with both Chief Scott and District Attorney Boudin to say that violence in San Francisco would not be tolerated and that any perpetrators would "be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," especially those whose victims were the elderly or children.
"Look, I believe in second chances. I believe people are better than the worst things they have done," said Breed. "But when you cross that line, when you commit murder, when you take someone's life like that, we as a city and as a society have to hold you accountable for your actions. And you have to take responsibility for the pain and the suffering you caused."
Breed said that she had the support of both the police department and the District Attorney's office in her stance.
"You will be held accountable by both the police and the District Attorney. There will be consequences. Let's dispel the myth right now that there are no consequences for committing crimes in San Francisco."
Both Chief Scott and Boudin echoed the mayor's concern and commitment to prosecuting violent criminals and bringing them to justice.
"Mr. Vicha Ratanapakdee and Mr. Jack Palladino were both seniors. Although the incidents were separate, each was assaulted in an unprovoked attack and in broad daylight," said Scott. "This kind of horrific violence has no place in our community. And we want families to know, all San Franciscans to know, that your city officials, starting with our mayor and with every member of the San Francisco Police Department, our district attorney, and everybody in the criminal justice system stand united to work to ensure that justice is done in these cases."
Scott also addressed the fatal shooting of six-year-old Jace Young as he watched fireworks with his family in the Bayview District on the Fourth of July. An 18-year-old was arrested last month after police had announced a $100,000 reward in the case.
"For anybody who thinks that they can attack elderly individuals in our city, you need to think twice. For anybody who thinks that you can murder a six-year-old child enjoying Fourth of July with his family, you need to think twice. We will bring every resource to bear to bring you to an account, and we won't rest until that's done."
The District Attorney, who has come under fire from the San Francisco Police Officers' Association last year for dropping charges against a man shot by police and easing the policy on police stops, also said his office would focus on the prosecution of violent crimes.
"I know that the recent tragic and violent events have made many in San Francisco, especially our most vulnerable, our elderly, feel unsafe," added Boudin. "We are here today to inform you that we will hold those who committed these horrific crimes accountable, period. Prosecuting violent crimes is and always will be my top priority."
Boudin's office on Tuesday confirmed that charges were already filed against two suspects in the assault that led to Palladino's death and that the office will file charges against the suspect responsible for the murder of Ratanapakdee.
Lawrence Thomas and Tyjone Flournoy, the two suspects in Palladino's death, appeared in court for their arraignment Tuesday. The case was continued until next week because Boudin is changing their felony charges to murder charges.
19-year-old Antoine Watson will face murder charges in Ratanapakdee's death. He's due in court Wednesday.
"My heart goes out to the families of both victims for these senseless, violent attacks. These horrific crimes cause seniors and all of us to feel unsafe," said Boudin in the release.
Boudin has also been criticized for his handling of the case of Troy McAlister, the man arrested on New Year's Eve after the stolen car he was driving smashed into the two women who later died.
"There are missed opportunities here, and you're right that every single law enforcement agency involved in supervising Mr. McAllister or dealing with his arrests is taking a hard look at what happened and what might have happened," Boudin said in a KPIX interview after McAllister was arrested.
It was also revealed that Boudin once represented the suspect when he was a defense attorney at the Public Defender's office.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association said a March 2020 sentencing agreement for a 2015 armed robbery between McAlister and Boudin's office resulted in McAlister not serving any prison time, and that McAlister has since been arrested multiple times by the SFPD with Boudin failing to file criminal charges each time.
Boudin has countered that there was more to the story. He said police failed to notify the parole officer after the second and third arrests.
"I can tell you that the normal procedure is for the San Francisco Police Department to notify them all after every single arrest of a parolee," Boudin said. "And on December 20th, when Mr. McAllister was arrested, the San Francisco Police Department in violation of General Order 6.12 failed to notify those who had been working with Mr. McAllister on the prior arrests. They had been taking important steps to intervene and supervise him, but they cannot do their job if the police department does not notify them."
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