Adachi mourned by hundreds during City Hall Memorial

Hundreds of people mourning the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi packed City Hall March 4 to remember his legacy as the city’s first Asian American elected to the position.

City leaders and Adachi’s close friends and family members shared their intimate memories of him.

“I first met Jeff Adachi when I was 15 years old,” said Mayor London Breed, who grew up in public housing in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood. “A friend of mine had been arrested and I went to her home to check on her family. Sitting at the dining room table at my friend’s home was a guy who definitely wasn’t from our community.”

“It turned out to be a young lawyer, a young deputy public defender. That’s how I met Jeff, not at a political event or fundraiser, not when I was an elected official, but at a dining room table, trying to help someone in my community,” she said. “Everyone knew that Jeff was here to help. Everyone knew that Jeff cared about our community and our community cared about Jeff.”

Breed said, “Jeff led the way on progressive policy reforms, from reducing recidivism, ending cash bail to standing up for undocumented and unrepresentative people.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown echoed the current mayor in his remarks about Adachi. “He was a standup friend and a talented lawyer. He chose to be a criminal defense lawyer in the public sector and not in the private,” Brown said. “He was a strong advocate for every aspect of what ought to be rights of all people.

Adachi’s younger brother Stan Adachi also spoke to the crowd. “Jeff gave us strength,” he said.

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