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San Francisco Mayor Apologizes for Saying ‘A Lot of People’ from Honduras Deal Drugs

London Breed said her comments did not 'accurately' explain the 'incredibly complex situation'

The mayor of San Francisco is apologizing for a remark made about Honduran migrants at a live public radio event earlier this month.

London Breed was discussing claims that law enforcement racially profiled individuals and targeted Latino people.

At KQED-FM’s Oct. 5 event, Breed said a large number of people who were arrested recently for dealing fentanyl were from Honduras. The mayor had been asked about the approximate 1,700 overdose deaths in the city over the last two years and her government’s responses.

“There are unfortunately a lot of people who come from a particular country — come from Honduras — and a lot of the people who are dealing drugs happen to be of that ethnicity,” Breed said

She said there was nothing “racial” about the demographic components of the arrest, but rather the arrest reflected “what is out there.”

“It is not about racial profiling. It just so happens that this is the case,” she told the hosts of the station’s show Political Breakdown. “Just like when you look at disparity around things that are happening – this is just the reality.”

“So we have people advocating for folks that are selling fentanyl that is killing people,” Breed added. “But what about the kid that got ahold of some fentanyl by accident and died?”

In December, Breed declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco where the arrests have been taking place, citing rising overdoses and deteriorating conditions. Most of the overdoses involved fentanyl. The move was part of her Tenderloin Emergency Intervention Plan and permitted the city to direct additional resources to the area by waiving certain laws and bureaucratic procedures. 

“The situation in the Tenderloin is an emergency and it calls for an emergency response,” Breed said, per the Los Angeles Times. “We showed during COVID that when we’re able to use an emergency declaration to cut through the bureaucracy and barriers that get in the way of decisive action, we can get things done and make real, tangible progress.”

Her remarks about the arrests gained attention on social media. Breed released a written apology saying her comments did not “accurately and comprehensively” explain the “incredibly complex situation in our City and in Central America.”

“We do have significant challenges with drug dealing in the Tenderloin, and those challenges are impacting families that live there, including immigrant Latino families and residents who are living in fear,” wrote Breed, per the Los Angeles Times. “As a proud Sanctuary City, we have an obligation to provide a safe space for our immigrant families to live and thrive. That includes ending open-air drug markets and hold drug dealers, regardless of ethnicity, accountable.”

Breed took over as acting mayor in December of 2017 after Mayor Ed Lee died. She won a special election on June 5, 2018 and formally took office on July 11, 2018. She was reelected in November of 2019 and her current term ends in 2024.

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