Sacramento DA Schubert on the Hot Seat after Mass Killing

By Robert H. Hansen

In the wake of the shooting in Downtown Sacramento that claimed the lives of six and injured twelve others early Sunday morning, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s practices as DA have come into question.

So far, none of the three arrests made in connection to Sunday’s shooting are directly related to firing a gun.

Gil Duran of the San Francisco Examiner wrote, “She (Schubert) regularly attacks Democratic leaders, tying them to heinous crimes. Regular targets include Bonta, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.”

In his opinion article, the former Sacramento Bee editor said Schubert should end her campaign for Attorney General.

“Schubert has fallen down on the job,” Duran said. “If she thinks Boudin should be recalled despite S.F.’s relatively low rates of murder and violent crime, what’s the rationale for promoting her to state attorney general despite spiraling violence in Sacramento?”

The Vanguard reported showing data from their respective police departments for the 2020 – 2021 calendar year showing that San Francisco had a 17 percent increase in homicide and Los Angeles had a 12 percent increase in homicide, while Sacramento has had a 31 percent increase in homicide.

Alana Mathews, a candidate for Sacramento County DA, visited some of the family members impacted by Sunday’s shooting.

“I have not had an opportunity to visit with all of the families affected, but those I connected with were experiencing a range of emotions from devastation, and frustration to grief, shock, and sadness,” Mathews said.

Mathews said tragic events like this can take days and sometimes weeks to process, so it’s important to understand trauma-informed communication and to meet individuals where they are. 

“It is also important to acknowledge their hurt and that they are victims. I showed up as a concerned community member, not as a candidate, acknowledging their hurt and asking how to be supportive,” Mathews said. 

She said the families appreciated that and this simple act is how you build trust, break down barriers, and bridge divisions.

Mathews says we have to disrupt the false dichotomies associated with being tough and supporting reform.  

“I believe in being tough on violent and serious crime and I also support common-sense reforms that embrace prevention and intervention strategies,” Mathews said.  “The two are not mutually exclusive.”

Schubert has been ineffective in reducing gun violence because she hasn’t prioritized it, according to Mathews, and, instead, it has been normalized in certain neighborhoods and the community prosecution unit has mainly focused on quality of life crimes like public nuisances and not gun violence. 

“That’s why ending gun violence has been my top priority and I’ve provided a plan on how I will address this growing epidemic on day one,” Mathews said. “Let me be clear that I will prosecute those who engage in gun violence, especially when they take innocent lives, to the fullest extent of the law. 

Candidate for Santa Clara County District Attorney Sajid Khan says continued punitive, carceral responses to harm are not making communities safer.

“The way we prevent violence in our communities is by investing in mental health services, substance abuse services, and trauma-informed care,” Khan said.

The data shows that counties with “tough on crime” DAs that continue to use incarceration and a solely punitive approach are not solving violence, according to Khan.

“If we’re truly invested in solving harm in our communities, including violent crime, as opposed to merely punishing it, then we have to recognize that being tough on crime is not accomplishing that goal,” Khan said.

Mathews survived a random drive-by shooting as a teenager while hanging out with her youth group at her pastor’s house and no one was ever held accountable. 

“Reducing gun violence means more than prosecuting these crimes in the courtroom,” Mathews said.

Mathews laid out her plan if she becomes Sacramento County’s next district attorney.

  • Prioritize removing guns from those who should not have them–including domestic violence abusers.
  • Tackle the problem of ghost gun violence, distribution, and illegal manufacturing in partnership with law enforcement officers, the California Attorney General, and state legislators.
  • Support violence intervention programs that apply a community-centered approach to addressing gun violence in neighborhoods with particularly high rates of gun violence. 
  • Educate and empower community members to utilize California’s red flag law which helps deescalate gun violence during dangerous situations & improves safety when clear warning signs exist. 
  • Form a gun violence task force with clergy, community members, violence prevention groups, downtown businesses,  law enforcement, and health care professionals to develop a strategic safety plan for keeping our region safe.

“Assembling this type of think tank to help ensure Sacramento will never [again] be a recipient of such unprecedented violence,” Mathews said.

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