Mohammed Nuru, the former Public Works director ousted in early 2020 and charged in a federal corruption scandal, was booked into County Jail No. 1 at 4:44 p.m. this afternoon after he allegedly pulled a knife on someone at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank .
San Francisco Police responded to a call around 11:18 a.m., in which a victim told officers he was approached by an alleged assailant, who produced a knife and demanded the victim’s property, according to a police statement.
The police did not initially link Nuru to the incident or even confirm an arrest, but Nuru was booked on second-degree robbery charges this afternoon, according the the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department website.
Nuru’s involvement was confirmed by Keely Hopkins, communications manager of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Hopkins also confirmed that the property under question was a bag of chips.
According to Hopkins, Nuru — who has spent time volunteering at the food bank since being charged by the feds and leaving city employment — had approached the alleged victim in the break room. Nuru was purportedly holding a small kitchen knife, and the victim was eating a bag of chips. Nuru allegedly said this was all meant in jest, but the victim told police he felt threatened and left the food bank in fear of his safety.
The investigation is still active, and this story will be updated as information becomes available.
Nuru, who was named Public Works director by Mayor Ed Lee in 2011, is facing a potential 20-year federal prison sentence on corruption charges, and an additional five for allegedly lying to FBI agents. He had been free on a $2 million bond.
Ongoing probes by both the feds and City Attorney have led to a bevy of charges against both public officials and private citizens and the resignations of several department heads including Nuru, former Department of Building Inspection boss Tom Hui; former Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly; and several others.
Update, June 3, 5 p.m.: After spending the night in jail, Nuru was not arraigned: The District Attorney has declined to press charges.
Spokeswoman Rachel Marshall said a witness corroborated Nuru’s account that he held up a kitchen knife and demanded a third man’s chips as a joke, of sorts.
“It seems to be be a pretty inappropriate and misguided attempt at humor,” she said. “But there’s nothing showing he tried to take the chips and he didn’t take them.”
No video exists of the incident.