'Oust Chesa Boudin Now!' Says Person Behind Viral San Francisco Shoplifting Video

The person who posted a viral video of shoplifting incident in San Francisco, California has called for the city's district attorney, Chesa Boudin, to be removed from office and pointed to a petition seeking a recall election.

Instagram user sfstreets415, whose bio describes them as an "Asian photographer and crime reporter," shared the video of a number of unidentified individuals stealing designer goods from Neiman Marcus on Tuesday. It has so far racked up over 13,000 views and been shared in news media.

"Everyone in the city is tired of this so please sign the recall petition to oust Chesa Boudin now!" the user wrote. "Crime is legal basically and allowed and tolerated due to policies put in place and supported by all our supervisors and mayor and DA."

In a statement to Newsweek on Wednesday, Instagram user sfstreets415 said: "Crime is basically legal in San Francisco thanks to the policies and ideology created by Chesa Boudin and backed and fully supported by most of the members of our Board of supervisors.

"Crimes are allowed and tolerated in the city and residents and criminals all know it," they said.

"Criminals are emboldened by the DA's policies and have no fear of the police since there's no consequences or repercussions. They know Boudin is soft on crime and has their back," they added.

The petition calling for the recall of Boudin also blames his policies for a rise in crime in the city where organizers say "every resident and every visitor" is a "potential target."

However, a San Francisco Chronicle report from March noted that crime was down 32 percent in the city over the past year, while most violent crimes like rape, robbery and assault were also down. Police data up to July shows that rapes and robberies are down year on year.

The Recall Chesa Boudin campaign is seeking 51,325 verified signatures by August 11 in order to force a recall election of the Democratic DA, who assumed office in 2020 on a progressive platform.

One of the organizers of the recall effort, former Republican mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg, also set up an online petition on Change.org that garnered almost 15,000 signatures. However, as that petition notes, only signatures on paper will be valid in order to call a special election.

The recall campaign's website says: "San Franciscans throughout the City and across the political spectrum are united to recall embattled district attorney Chesa Boudin.

"To bring change to San Francisco, city hall bureaucrats or grassroots, citizen-lead groups may propose ballot measures. This initial undertaking of a recall is one such example; concerned citizen and long time resident, Richie Greenberg, brought together a coalition of twenty-nine San Franciscans in early February, to create and sign the legal notice of intent to begin the process for 2021."

The website goes on to blame Boudin's approach for crime in the Californian city.

"The duty to enforce criminal laws, hold criminals accountable, and represent the law-abiding citizens by prosecuting and convicting is the duty of the District Attorney," they wrote.

"In San Francisco, this obligation to the people is from Chesa Boudin. Under Boudin, elected November, 2019, our city's criminal justice system has instead been suspended."

"Criminals are emboldened due to lack of accountability; those perpetrators arrested are simply let go, commit more crimes, and unfortunately, many are deadly."

Boudin has been criticized for his handling of some recent incidents, including a fatal hit-and-run on New Year's Eve. The driver was a recent parolee who had been arrested several times before the December 31 incident but not charged. The DA's office had instead chosen to refer the cases to state parole agents.

Boudin, a former public defender, supports major reforms of the criminal justice system, such as ending cash bail and police contributions to attorney general elections. He has also promised to reduce incarceration.

Newsweek has asked Recall Chesa Boudin and Chesa Boudin for comment.

Neiman Marcus Store Pictured in San Francisco
A Neiman Marcus department store in San Francisco, California. Video of a shoplifting incident at Neiman Marcus in the city went viral on Tuesday. Robert Alexander/Getty Images