Police now have a suspect in the murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee, whose stabbing rocked the San Francisco community. On Thursday afternoon, police arrested Nima Momeni, 38, a tech consultant living in the San Francisco suburbs. Police Chief Bill Scott confirmed to reporters that Lee and Momeni knew each other. However, he did not go into further details about their relationship.
Earlier this month, Lee, 43, was discovered with multiple stab wounds in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood, leaving behind his two children. Although it is worth noting that Momeni has not been convicted, his arrest could put an end to weeks of speculation about whether rampant “lawlessness” and “violent crime” in San Francisco were actually to blame.
Remember, tech CEOs like Elon Musk wasted very little time after Lee’s murder before pushing racially-coded language about violent crime in San Francisco and pushing for policies that disproportionately harm Black Americans. “Violent crime in SF is horrific, and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately,” wrote Twitter Owner Elon Musk after Lee was found murdered. “Is the city taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders?”
As we’ve written about previously, this type of “tough-on-crime” rhetoric inevitably leads to policies that harm and disproportionately incarcerate Black Americans. The War on Drugs, which was fueled by nearly identical rhetoric about “lawlessness,” being a prime example.
Now that we know the suspect wasn’t someone randomly stalking the streets of San Francisco, released by weak-on-crime liberals, but a tech consultant from the suburbs who knew the victim, it calls into question everything Musk and his friends have been saying.
At a press conference announcing the arrest, San Fransisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins shared similar sentiments.
“I must point out that reckless and irresponsible statements, like those contained in Mr. Musk’s tweet that assumed incorrect circumstances of Mr. Lee’s death, serve to mislead the world in its perception of San Francisco,” Jenkins said.
It’s also worth noting that the underlying data doesn’t even back up Musk’s point. San Francisco actually has far fewer homicides than many other similarly sized cities, including Columbus, OH., Indianapolis, IN., and Denver, CO.
Despite the facts of this case and the data on crime in San Francisco, it seems unlikely folks like Musk will be deterred from pushing this harmful narrative going forward.