SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Members of the San Francisco Police Officers Association on Wednesday leveled accusations that SF District Attorney and former Chief of Police George Gascon made racist comments during a drunken dinner in 2010.
The charges come in the wake of Gascon taking issue in recent months over allegations of racism and homophobia within the San Francisco Police Department. Gascon convened a blue-ribbon commission to address the problem and at that commission laid part of the blame for the culture of the police department has stated the overbearing power of the police officers union.
On Wednesday, members of the Police Officers Association fired back.
It is an allegation that no one — especially a politician –ever wants to be accused of.
But according to sworn statements by two police union officials submitted to the blue-ribbon commission, in 2010 while having diner after a Harvard conference then Police Chief George Gascon himself was guilty of publicly making racist remarks.
According to the statements, Gascon “…was drinking heavily [and] made multiple statements that disparaged minorities. He became so loud and animated that an African-American patron approached Chief Gascon and asked him to restrain himself because his behavior was offending his family.”
Former police union president Gary Delagnes said he is bringing up the five year old incident to show that Gascon was not always the crusading police refomer he is today
“He’s obviously an opportunistic politician and I’ve watched him flip flop on so many issues, said Delagnes. “I wasn’t going to sit back and watch him sully the reputation of this department — which I have a lot of pride.”
When asked if he was saying that George Gascon is a hypocrite, he replied in the affirmative.
“Yes, very much a hypocrite,” said Delagnes.
Even by San Francisco standards, making such statements is playing hard-ball politics. While the DA hasn’t responded to the charges, others are coming to his defense.
“I’ve known him for five years. I’ve had a beer with him and I’ve never known him to make any sort disparaging comments,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. “I’d be shocked if these were true.”
KPIX 5 reporter Phil Matier asked Delagnes if he could back up the statements and give specifics of what Gascon said.
“I don’t want to do that because I don’t think that serves the purpose,” said Delagnes. “I don’t want to take away from what I see is the major issue here, which is the fact that he is a hypocrite and the fact that he has lied in his testimony in about the San Francisco Police Department. ”
Delagnes told KPIX 5 that if he was called upon by the blue-ribbon committee I would give further details. “I will expound upon it,” said Delagnes. He might not even remember what he said. But I do and the other two people who were there do.
Adachi remained skeptical.
“It sounds like a lot of school yard gossip,” said Adachi. “I would question the credibility of the Police Officers Association.”
Delagnes replied, “I’ll let the people decide who has more credibility.”
When members of the blue-ribbon commission were asked if they planned to call Delagnes in to elaborate on the statements made, they said they were reviewing the statement and had not made a decision yet.