SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A day after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón’s surprising resignation announcement, Mayor London Breed on Friday appointed Suzy Loftus, the city’s former police commission president, to be the interim district attorney.
Loftus, a former prosecutor who currently serves as legal counsel for San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, has over a decade of experience in local law enforcement. She will serve the remainder of Gascón’s term.
Friday’s announcement was initially set to take place at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. However the venue for the press conference was changed to a nearby restaurant due to a loud protest against Loftus by police reform advocates.
Gascón announced on Thursday he would step down on Oct. 18th — months before his term was scheduled to end — to move to Los Angeles, where he intends to run for district attorney.
Loftus is running in the race for district attorney next month against deputy public defender Chesa Boudin, Alameda County deputy district attorney Nancy Tung and deputy state attorney general Leif Dautch.
Loftus comes into office with a legal career built on a tough on crime attitude. Her appointment was welcomed by the SF Police Officers Association which had issues with the way Gascon handled his duties.
The SFPOA has also clashed with both the district attorney and public defender’s offices over the years and a statement from POA president Tony Montoya targeted both Gascón and Boudin. “George Gascon abandoning his sworn duty to climb the next rung of the political ladder is consistent with his character of putting his raw ambition before the public’s interest,” the statement read. “We respect Mayor Breed’s authority to appoint a district attorney, and we are thankful it is not the criminal and domestic-terrorist apologist who is running to replace the failed Gascon.”
Breed lauded Loftus’ tough-on-crime stance.
“There is no more qualified person to serve as District Attorney than Suzy Loftus,” Breed said in a news release. “I hear from residents every day who are frustrated by the endless cycle of people getting arrested for dealing drugs, or breaking into cars, only to be released back out on the streets.”
“With Suzy, I have a partner who can make sure that people are held accountable for their actions and who will continue our work to reform our criminal justice system.”
Loftus said she was ready to tackle the city’s crime problems head-on.
“I’m going to build a world-class law office with prosecutors who will work together with law enforcement, community advocates and City Hall leaders to shape solutions that hold people accountable and get San Franciscans struggling with mental health and drug abuse challenges the help they need,” she said.
Loftus is a first generation American and native San Franciscan who lives in the Outer Sunset with her husband Tom and her three daughters. She will serve the remainder of the current term through January 2020, and is running for election for a full term in the November 5 election.