Mayor Breed Defends Attempt To Get Brother's Prison Sentence Reduced

December 20, 2018
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (Photo credit: Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio)

(Photo credit: Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed is defending her decision to write a letter to the governor seeking a reduced prison sentence for her half brother who was imprisoned for causing a woman's death and other crimes. 

Breed asked Gov. Jerry Brown to consider early release for Napoleon Brown who's served 18 years of a 44-year sentence for manslaughter and armed robbery. He was tried for pushing a woman out of a getaway car on the Golden Gate Bridge after robbing a restaurant with her in 2000. The woman, Lenties White, was struck and killed by an oncoming driver. 

Breed sent the letter in October, but it's just come to light. She feared that she'd catch heat for the request, but said her brother's sentence was unfair. 

“It’s sadly been twisted in an unfortunate way because, again, there are two families that have been impacted,” Breed told KCBS Radio on Wednesday. “I’m very close with members of this family as well, and I’ve had a number of conversations with them. This has been a hard situation because, unfortunately, I am in a situation where I am mayor and it probably will have a reverse impact of what I was hoping it could possibly do, which is get my brother a reduced sentence and get him into treatment and get him the support that he needs.”

Brown, who had previous felony convictions, is not eligible for parole until 2032. Two years were added to his sentence after he was found to be in possession of heroin in prison. 

In her letter, Breed said that drugs have been a problem for Brown. 

White's mother told NBC Bay Area, which first reported about Breed's letter, that “I don’t think it would be justice" for Brown to be released. 

The governor’s office declined to comment. 

It was not an abuse of power as mayor to make the request, Breed said, adding that it stemmed from her concern about racial disparities in the criminal justice for African-American men. 

"I came to the conclusion of whether I was mayor not is this something I would do? The answer is yes. So I didn't want to allow that to get in the way of what I wanted to do," said Breed.