Finger pointing will not bring back two women killed in San Francisco hit-&-run

The California Department of Corrections and the San Francisco District Attorney are being excoriated after a parolee driving a stolen vehicle ran down and killed two women in downtown San Francisco on New Year’s Eve.

The political knives are out in full force in San Francisco.

Put the knives back in the drawer. The sad reality is that two women are dead. No amount of over heated rhetoic will change that reality.

San Francisco Chronicle 1.2.2021

Hanako Abe seemed excited about what the new year might bring.

“#PeaceOut2020. Physically apart, yet closer than EVER to family and friends this year,” the Japanese-born San Francisco resident wrote New Year’s Eve on her Instagram page, accompanied by a selfie with a beaming, wide smile. “Also taught me so much of perseverance, gratitude and self-love. We are resilient.”

But Abe, 27, would not live to see the new year. Later that day, she was one of two people who were fatally struck and killed walking in San Francisco. Also killed was Elizabeth Platt, 60.

Authorities said the driver of the car that hit Platt and Abe, 45-year-old Troy Ramon McAlister, was intoxicated and driving a stolen gray Honda when he hit the two women on Mission Street about 4 p.m. Thursday. He fled the scene and was arrested by police who found him hiding in a nearby commercial building, authorities said.

McAlister declined to be interviewed at a San Francisco jail, where he is being held on charges including manslaughter, hit and run, burglary, resisting arrest and driving under the influence.

The deaths of Platt and Abe ignited a furor directed at San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whom critics have accused of not holding criminals accountable.

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Scene of two New Year’s Eve deaths at Second and Market Streets in San Francisco

McAlister was on parole for robbery at the time of the crash, having been released from state prison in April. In the months between his release and the crash, McAlister was arrested several times, on charges including suspicion of car theft, possession of burglary tools and violating the terms of his parole. But he remained free rather than being sent back to prison.

Just before the crash, police said, McAlister committed a burglary nearby.

The tragedy has led to finger-pointing among law enforcement agencies. Boudin said his office referred those cases to state parole agents instead of charging McAlister — but conceded Friday that it “was a mistake to think parole supervision would be adequate.”

A spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, though, said the agency’s parole office “followed all procedures after these incidents, including conducting investigations and making appropriate referrals for the individual.”

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“None of the parolee’s arrests following his 2020 release have yet to result in the filing of criminal charges by the district attorney,” the corrections spokesperson said.

Without mentioning Boudin or the District Attorney’s Office by name, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said in a statement that “we must all be held equally accountable for the decisions we make, because they can have serious implications for the safety of those we serve.”

“San Franciscans deserve nothing less,” Scott said, “and that’s what they’re demanding from all of us in the criminal justice system.”

Abe had worked as an analyst for commercial real estate firm JLL since 2018, according to her LinkedIn page. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and previously attended Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

She volunteered frequently, including at the Arkansas Foodbank, as a referee at robotics competitions and as a judge for youth art competitions, her LinkedIn page said.