KRON4: Ex-SF prosecutor fired by Brooke Jenkins running for his old boss’ job

Kron4 ryan khojasteh sf da san francisco district attorney ryan khojasteh

This article was originally published in KRON4

By Ella Sogomonian

(KRON) — There’s a new challenger in the race for San Francisco District Attorney. Almost two years after he was fired by SF DA Brooke Jenkins when she took over the position, Ryan Khojasteh is now going after the top prosecutor’s job.

Khojasteh worked under recalled SF DA Chesa Boudin and is now working for Alameda County DA Pamela Price who’s facing her own recall.

In this exclusive KRON4 interview, Khojasteh insists he has his own approach to public safety.

Khojasteh considers himself a proud San Francisco resident who is frustrated by the state of the city.

‘This is not normal’: Swalwell calls out ‘soft on violent-crime prosecutors’ in tweet Originally from San Jose, Khojasteh graduated from UC Hastings Law School, lived in the embattled Tenderloin and says he himself has been a victim of a random attack while out for a walk in Union Square.

Khojasteh explains he wanted to make a difference, so he joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in 2020 as a prosecutor. While there, he says he mostly focused on connecting kids in juvenile hall with treatment and support services to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

“And that comes from a deep personal pain that I hope never happens to anybody,” Khojasteh said.

Khojasteh’s own family suffered a major loss that drove him toward this line of work. Back in the 90s, his uncle was shot and killed in Los Angeles by two teens who robbed the Denny’s he was managing.

From that death, a commitment was born to reduce gun violence and support kids early on, so they don’t grow up to become violent adults.

But Khojasteh adds that he always worked with the victims of crime in mind.

“I learned how to be a dedicated advocate for victims’ rights to make sure the public is safe and above all to make sure there is accountability in our system,” Khojasteh said.

Two years into the job, his boss, Chesa Boudin who was considered radically liberal, was recalled as SF DA in 2022. Jenkins, who promised to be tough on crime, was appointed to the role by the mayor to take over.

Jenkins fired most of the staff including Khojasteh who says he wasn’t given a reason. He now works for Price who is also under scrutiny for having a liberal approach to criminal justice.

KRON4: “Your last boss was recalled and your current boss is facing a recall, how would your approach be different if given the chance to be district attorney?”

Khojasteh: “What sets me apart from Chesa Boudin or Pamela Price is that I have been in the courts my whole career trying to pursue public safety and protect victims of crime and make our society a better place.”

Union Square coffee shop to close after almost 10 years at SF location Khojasteh is a self-declared moderate.

He’s an advocate for reform programs for teens and drug users when appropriate but believes in accountability for people perpetuating the problems plaguing San Francisco.

“I believe in holding drug dealers accountable,” Khojasteh said. “I have done that. I have sought jail time for people who dealt fentanyl on our streets, but I also understand that the bigger issue here is making sure that we go after who is supplying the drugs, those who are in charge of those drugs because otherwise, we are not going to be making a huge difference.”

Khojasteh brought up the 806 people who died from a drug overdose last year and says violent crime is up 3% in the last year-and-half under Jenkins’ term.

He worries she may have stepped away from established community-based partnerships and reduced involvement with collaborative courts that link people with mental health and substance abuse disorders to treatment — something he vows to uphold if elected to be the next district attorney.

Khojasteh says he also supports unionizing prosecutors and using a grand jury system.

Jenkins’ campaign team answered some of the claims brought up in this report. A statement reads:

The role of the district attorney is to create a fair system of justice that appropriately holds criminal offenders accountable and delivers justice for victims. In her first year, DA Jenkins has worked hard to reverse the damage caused to San Francisco by her predecessor and put prosecutors back to work fighting crime. Jenkins hired 40 new prosecutors, increased criminal drug prosecutions by 77%, and led a 70% increase in violent crime convictions. The data show these changes are making San Francisco safer. The da looks forward to putting her record up against any candidate who wants to revert back to the failed policies that clearly were not working for this city.

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