Paulette Brown is not what you would call a fearful woman. Since her 17-year old son Aubrey Abrakasa was gunned down in broad daylight outside of their Western Addition home three years ago today (the killer(s) are known to the Mayor, DA, and SFPD yet cannot be brought to justice as no witnesses will testify) she’s done everything she can to bring attention to the case: she’s talked to media, she’s testified on a nearly daily basis at the Board of Supervisors, and when her schedule allows, she sits outside of City Hall and the Hall of Justice with placards, posters and photos of her son in various stages of life (and death, Aubrey’s coroner photo is one of them).
Brown advocates for her living children, too — which includes her 16-year old niece, Champagne, who’s lived with Brown since she was removed from foster car in Antioch — foster care that Brown alleges included abuse, abuse that Child Protective Services knew about and did not report.
Brown has filed suit against the City and County of San Francisco for failing to provide adequate care to Champagne (who is a ward of the city and county until she turns 18).
Brown has sued the city before, after Champagne suffered earlier abuse (including rape, at a very young age) in city-overseen foster care. After this latest incident, Brown hopes that the city will eventually “do right by Champagne”: get her back into counseling so she can finish school and get on with her life.
But in the meantime, Brown told The Appeal, she is finally afraid.
“My life is in danger,” she said. “My daughter’s life is in danger.”
But not of Aubrey’s killers, who are reported to still live in Brown’s neighborhood. Brown says she’s afraid of Champagne’s former foster family – the Cookseys of Antioch. She may have reason to be: after Brown prepared a report of abuse on Champagne while Champagne was living in foster care at the Cooksey’s home, Champagne’s child protective services worker tipped off Wayne Cooksey of the report.
Shortly thereafter, Wayne Cooksey began making threatening calls to Brown’s home – and most recently, Brown says, at the Juneteenth Festival, a member of the Cooksey family tried to approach Champagne before Brown intervened.
So now Brown must wait while her lawsuit against the city is working its way through the system – and she doesn’t quite know what to do. Brown was hopeful that her March face-to-face with Mayor Gavin Newsom would lead to results.
According to Brown, Newsom himself promised it would. “The mayor said he would get (Department of Human Services director) Trent Rhorer to follow up with me,” Brown said. “But it never happened.”
As detailed in the Weekly piece linked above, Brown finds herself at wit’s end. She can’t get closure to her son’s case, three years on , despite overtures from the Mayor and DA that they know who did it. Now, she says, the city is well-aware that Champagne is in trouble, and still nothing is being done.
“I’m doing what I need to do as a parent to protect her (Champagne),” she said. “I’ve already lost a child – my son.”
As part of her lawsuit Brown was told not to speak to the media.
“But I don’t care. I want it out there,” she says. “I’m afraid for my life and my family’s lives.”
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