Disgraced San Francisco Official Arrested for Attempted Robbery at Food Bank

Mohammed Nuru resigned last year amid federal corruption investigation

Mohammed Nuru / ABC 7 screenshot
June 3, 2021

San Francisco police on Wednesday arrested a disgraced former city official who served under successive Democratic administrations for attempting to rob someone at knifepoint at a food bank.

Mohammed Nuru, who served as the city's director of public works under Democratic mayors Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, Ed Lee, and London Breed, allegedly brandished a kitchen knife and attempted to steal a bag of potato chips from a volunteer at a city food bank, according to ABC 7. The victim fled the scene and called the police, who took Nuru into custody. After the incident, Nuru reportedly said he was just "kidding."

Last year, the FBI arrested Nuru on corruption and bribery charges. Federal prosecutors say Nuru, who resigned from his position after his arrest, oversaw a kickback scheme with city contractors, who exchanged tens of thousands of dollars in gifts for city contracts. The FBI also alleges Nuru attempted to bribe an airport commissioner to secure restaurant space at San Francisco International Airport for an associate. If convicted, Nuru faces up to 20 years in prison.

Nuru served in San Francisco's city government for nearly two decades and earned a reputation as a "guy who can get things done," former Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard told the San Francisco Chronicle. The former city official's loyalty to the Democratic administrations he served under "may have discouraged mayors from looking too closely at how he ran his ship," according to the outlet.

During his tenure as director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works, Nuru oversaw a public sanitation crisis as his department documented tens of thousands of reports of human defecation on city streets and sidewalks. Nuru's department paid a public relations firm more than $400,000 to report that the city's public areas were "near spotless," NBC San Francisco reported in 2018.

Published under: San Francisco