SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A day after the arrest of scandalized former Department of Public Works director Mohammed Nuru for an alleged knifepoint robbery of a bag of potato chips, SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin Thursday announced no charges would be filed.
Boudin's office said in a statement that the Wednesday incident was not an armed robbery but rather a questionable joke by the man at the center of a San Francisco City Hall corruption scandal involving alleged wire fraud, bribes and kickbacks.
The statement said that Nuru was doing volunteer work at a foodbank when the incident took place.
"We are not filing charges. Mr. Nuru was in the kitchen of a foodbank where he was volunteering when he held up a kitchen knife and appeared to have joked about taking someone's potato chips," the statement said. "An independent witness corroborated that this appeared to have been said in jest. There was no evidence that he actually tried to take the potato chips; this appears to have been an inappropriate and misguided attempt at humor."
According to police, around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday, officers responded to the 1000 block of Marin Street in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.
A victim there told officers a man approached him, brandished a knife and then demanded the victim's property. The victim was able to flee and notify police.
Police identified the suspect as Nuru, the embattled former city official who resigned from his post last year after being arrested by federal officials on suspicion of wire fraud.
According to police, investigators developed probable cause to arrest the 58-year-old Nuru for attempted robbery. Nuru was later booked at the San Francisco County Jail.
In January 2020, Nuru was arrested by federal agents along with Lefty O'Doul's restaurant owner Nick Bovis in an alleged attempt to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner for help to obtain a restaurant concession.
Nuru's arrest kicked off an ongoing investigation into city corruption, with investigators alleging that over the years, Nuru accepted numerous bribes and kickbacks in exchange for giving favorable treatment on city contracts.
Since Nuru's arrest, a dozen defendants linked to the corruption investigation have been charged in federal court, including former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Harlan Kelly and former Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services director Sandra Zuniga.
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