The son of Weather Underground domestic terrorists convicted of felony murder for their role in the Brinks armored car robbery in 1981, has won a tightly contested race for district attorney in San Francisco.
In October of 1981, Boudin’s parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, joined other members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army to rob a Brink’s armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York.
While in the process of stealing $1.6 million from the armored car, the self-professed revolutionaries killed Sgt. Edward Grady, Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown, and Brinks guard Peter Paige, as well as wounded Paige’s partner Joseph Trombino.
Paige and Trombino were shot during the first shootout at the mall. When the police caught up to the U-Haul truck with David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin in the front seats, they weren’t sure they had the right vehicle because the suspects had been described as black, while the occupants of this truck were white. This was a deliberate part of the plan, designed to fool the police.
When officers approached the truck with their guns drawn, Boudin feigned innocence and pleaded with them to put their guns down. Once they dropped their guard and lowered their guns, “six men armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor emerged from the back of the truck and began firing upon the four police officers.”
Officer Brown was hit repeatedly by rifle rounds and collapsed on the ground. One robber then walked up to his prone body and fired several more shots into him with a 9mm handgun, ensuring his death. Keenan was shot in the leg, but managed to duck behind a tree and return fire.
Officer O’Grady lived long enough to empty his revolver, but as he reloaded, he was shot several times with an M16. Ninety minutes later, he died on a hospital operating table. Meanwhile Lennon, who was in his cruiser when the shootout began, tried to exit out the front passenger door, but O’Grady’s body was wedged up against the door. He watched as the suspects jumped back into the U-Haul and sped directly towards him. Lennon fired his shotgun several times at the speeding truck as it collided with his police car.
The occupants of the U-Haul scattered, some climbing into the yellow Honda, others carjacking a nearby motorist while Boudin attempted to flee on foot. An off-duty corrections officer apprehended her shortly after the shootout. When she was arrested, Boudin gave her name as Barbara Edson.
After serving 22 years, Boudin was granted parole on August 20, 2003. At age 69, she became an adjunct professor at Columbia’s prestigious School of Social Work. David Gilbert will probably spend the rest of his life in prison.
Chesa Boudin, a toddler at the time of the Brinks robbery, was adopted by Weather Underground terrorist leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and spent his childhood years in Chicago before studying law at Yale University.
Before coming to San Francisco, Boudin, a fellow socialist, worked as a translator for Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez.
“Growing up, I had to go through a metal detector and steel gates just to give my parents a hug,” Boudin, 39, said in his campaign video. He has reportedly remained close to his parents and posted a photo on his Facebook campaign page of a family reunion in New York.
Apparently, in San Francisco, touting a happy “family reunion” with convicted cop killer parents, is helpful to a campaign for district attorney.
Boudin became the latest candidate across the nation to win district attorney elections by pushing for sweeping reform over incarceration. He said he wants to tackle racial bias in the criminal justice system, overhaul the bail system, protect immigrants from deportation and pursue accountability in police misconduct cases.
“The people of San Francisco have sent a powerful and clear message: It’s time for radical change to how we envision justice,” Boudin said in a statement. “I’m humbled to be a part of this movement that is unwavering in its demand for transformation.”
He said that as one of the dozens of people whose lives were shattered by the deadly Brinks robbery in 1981, he experienced first-hand the destructive effects of mass incarceration and it motivated him to reform the nation’s broken criminal justice system.
Boudin received high-profile support from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and writer and civil rights activist Shaun King.
“Now is the moment to fundamentally transform our racist and broken criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration, the failed war on drugs and the criminalization of poverty,” Sanders tweeted Saturday, congratulating Boudin on his win.
Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, had markedly different thoughts about the outcome of the election.
“Unfortunately, the election results mean that San Francisco residents will have to suffer through another four years of the George Gascon style policies that have plagued our city and decimated public safety,” Montoya said in a statement.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Boudin’s long-term goal is to end “mass incarceration” as part of his criminal justice reform. On day one, plans to do away with ending money bail, and gang enhancements (an additional prison sentence that is added to the underlying felony if committed in association with a criminal street gang”).
In a recent interview with the far-left Jacobin magazine, Boudin praised the headway “progressives” have made in recent years infiltrating district attorney offices.
“There is a movement around the country of progressives running to be district attorneys,” he said. “A lot of people running today, including myself, wouldn’t have considered running five or ten years ago, because of the way that the office was viewed and the assumed limits of what could be accomplished, and frankly because of the public consciousness about criminal justice reform.”
The annual commemoration of the Brinks Robbery was held last month honoring the Nyack Police officers and the Brinks guard killed in the botched robbery attempt.