SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who is being criticized over his handling of a parolee subsequently arrested for a deadly New Year’s Eve hit-and-run crash, once represented the suspect when he was a defense attorney at the Public Defender’s office.
Monday afternoon, Boudin announced the filing of multiple felony charges against Troy McAlister, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run, gun possession and stolen vehicle charges, as well as multiple enhancements related to a prior strike conviction.
McAlister was arrested following the crash which killed Hana Abe, 27, and Elizabeth Platt, 60, after trying to flee the scene on foot. The vehicle McAlister was driving had allegedly been stolen in Daly City from a woman he had met on a dating app who was left stranded outside a restaurant after he took her car, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2018, Boudin was listed on the docket as the public defender during a preliminary hearing for McAlister who was accused of robbery at the time.
Alex Bastian, Assistant District Attorney, told KPIX 5, “District Attorney Boudin was not the public defender assigned to this particular defendant. It appears that he stood in on the case once in order to continue the matter for one of his colleagues. In fact, the prosecutor standing in that day was doing the same for a colleague as well. Standing in for a colleague is a very common practice that both prosecutors and public defenders do regularly.”
— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) January 4, 2021
After the filing of charges on Monday, Boudin said in a statement, “My entire office is distraught over this, and our hearts break for the families of Ms. Abe and Ms. Platt.”
Boudin also said the case was “an example of many different agencies each failing to intervene effectively.”
“Although of course no one predicted this tragedy, it is true that the Daly City Police, the San Francisco Police, Parole, and my office all could have done things differently, which might have avoided this terrible outcome,” Boudin said. ‘I have to start with what we could have done differently in house and we are carefully reviewing what happened and how the District Attorney’s Office can work to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future. I am implementing concrete changes to our longstanding practices regarding referrals to other agencies. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners—including police agencies and parole—to make systematic changes effective immediately.”
Boudin said his office is meeting with the victims’ families this week.
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.
The SFPOA, which has long been at odds with Boudin’s policies and opposed his election, called for the creation of an independent oversight panel to review Boudin’s criminal charging decisions and a review of what the union called “potential conflicts of interests in criminal cases.”
Authorities have said McAlister committed two crimes in San Francisco after his parole was granted earlier in 2020, one in November, the other in December. The district attorney’s office has not released formal details on the crimes, but said they were “non-violent.”
KPIX 5 has learned that McAlister was arrested five times in San Francisco in the space of seven months after he was let out on parole in April of last year. He was arrested in June for burglary and possession of burglary tools; again in August for stealing a car and possession of stolen property; October 15th, also stealing a car and possession of meth; November 6th, he was arreste for auto burglary; December 20th, possession of a stolen car, stolen property and burglary tools.
“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 an interview Sunday regarding how McAlister ended up on the streets after being accused of additional crimes.
Boudin claimed Daly City police should have more aggressively pursued an arrest of Boudin following the stolen car case.
“The Daly City Police Department were aware that Mr. McAllister had stolen the vehicle used in this fatal, tragic hit-and-run, and that he had a firearm,” Boudin said Sunday. “They were aware he was on parole. They were aware of his address and his phone number as of December 29th. And instead of taking steps to arrest him and get him off the streets to get the gun out of his possession and return the car to its rightful owner, they wrote in their report apparently that they were going to wait until January 3rd.”
Joe Vazquez contributed to this report.