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No charges in Mohammed Nuru attempted robbery case, DA says incident was a joke

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will not file attempted robbery charges against former Department of Public Works director Mohammed Nuru, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Nuru was arrested on Wednesday morning at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank at 1050 Marin St. after he allegedly approached a man, brandished a knife and demanded the man’s potato chips.

Officers arrested Nuru, 58, on suspicion of attempted robbery and booked him into the San Francisco County Jail, police said.

According to District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Rachel Marshall, no charges will be filed against Nuru because according to witnesses, the incident was intended to be a joke.

She said:

“Mr. Nuru was in the kitchen of a foodbank where he was volunteering when he held up a kitchen knife and appeared to have joked about taking someone’s potato chips. … There was no evidence that he actually tried to take the potato chips; this appears to have been an inappropriate and misguided attempt at humor.”

Nuru resigned from his post as Public Works director last year after federal prosecutors charged him with wire fraud.

Nuru was arrested in January 2020 along with Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant owner Nick Bovis in an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner for help to obtain a restaurant concession.

Federal prosecutors then further alleged that over the years, Nuru had accepted numerous bribes and kickbacks in exchange for giving favorable treatment on city contracts.

Nuru’s arrest kicked off a large-scale investigation into city corruption resulting in, so far, a dozen defendants being charged in federal court, including former Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services director Sandra Zuniga and former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Harlan Kelly.

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