A San Francisco man allegedly murdered a seven month-old baby after the city’s scandal-hit district attorney twice failed to charge him with domestic violence.
Joseph Williams, 26, was charged over the death of Synciere Williams after the infant arrived at at California Pacific Medical Center showing signs of severe trauma last week.
Police admitted Williams, said to have been caring for the baby at the time of the murder, had been arrested twice in separate domestic violence incidents in January and March of this year, but he did not face charges from either incident.
DA Boudin claimed they had been unable to book Williams for the assaults because the alleged victim who he was in a relationship with had not wanted to file charges.
But California State law considers domestic violence a crime against the state, with campaigners saying it was Boudin’s duty to find a way to make a case stick.
Boudin’s comment angered domestic violence advocates in San Francisco who say the District Attorney fundamentally misunderstood the nature of family violence cases.
Boudin’s decision also came under fire from Caitlyn Jenner, who is running to unseat Governor of California Gavin Newsom, after she claimed the Golden State’s prosecutors were being too soft on criminals.
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Kathy Black, executive director of domestic violence shelter La Casa de las Madres, said the failure to charge Joseph Williams was a dereliction of duty
She shared a journalist’s tweet about the story, and captioned it: ‘This is horrible and also avoidable.
‘Gavin’s District Attorneys across California are releasing dangerous criminals back on to our streets. Enough is enough.’
‘Gavin’s District Attorneys across California are releasing dangerous criminals back onto our streets. Enough is enough.’
Kathy Black, the executive director of La Casa de las Madres, a shelter for domestic violence victims in the city, told the San Francisco Chronicle the failure to charge Williams after either of his previous arrests showed Boudin’s complete lack of understanding of family violence.
‘Domestic violence is a crime against the state of California, and the district attorney’s job is to work with what the Police Department has gathered at the crime scene and develop the evidence to present a case,’ Black told The Chronicle.
‘That’s his job — it’s not the victim’s job.’
Figures from show the rate of charges in domestic violence cases dropped significantly last year.
In the last three months of 2020, city cops arrested 131 residents on felony domestic violence, but Boudin’s office dismissed 113 of them and charged just 13 of them, one as a misdemeanor.
The other five are still being reviewed.
Joseph Williams’ first arrest came on January 7 when he got into a shoving match with a woman he was in a relationship with on a street corner in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
The woman suffered bruising to her neck and said Williams had attacked her. A 10-month-old baby girl was in a stroller besides the altercation, police said.
Two months later on March 26, Williams was arrested again after police were called to an apartment to find the same woman with a cut to her lip and marks on her forehead. She told police she’d tried to kick Williams out of the flat and he’d attacked her.
A baby was also found at the address.
In both cases, the woman refused to lay charges.
‘Given the lack of cooperation with prosecution, we were unable to move forward with either of those cases,’ Rachel Marshall, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Boudin became district attorney of San Francisco in 2019, pledging a commitment to restorative justice over incarceration.
But he was condemned in January after allowing a robber to get out of prison on parole, with that criminal then allegedly going on to kill two women in a hit and run in the city on New Year’s Eve last year.
Troy McAlister had just been released from prison on parole for a robbery conviction when he killed Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt as they walked across a street in the SOMA neighborhood, it is claimed.
Police believe McAlister allegedly stole the vehicle from a woman he had just met on a dating app. Police found a gun and drugs in his car.
Boudin’s parents David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin were members of the Weather Underground, a radical left militant organization involved in a series of terror attacks in the 1970s.
Boudin was 14 months old when his parents left him with a babysitter so they could take part in the botched robbery of an armored car that left two police officers and a Brink’s truck guard dead. Both were convicted of murder as a result.
His father Gilbert is still in prison for murder and robbery, while his mother was released after serving more than two decades inside.