SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Video has surfaced of Toney Chaplin, who was appointed San Francisco’s Acting Police Chief on Thursday, saying racial bias nearly stopped him from pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Chaplin, who was Deputy Chief at the time, told a law enforcement conference last year about the experience.
“I had a real bad incident prior to coming into the police department,” Chaplin recalled. “It was down in the South Bay and I was in the Army. We went clubbing in San Jose. And I won’t go into detail about it, but it almost stopped me from being here sitting in front of you.”
Chaplin went on to tell the crowd about his management style.
“Some people get it right away, not a problem. Some people get it sooner or later, we need to train them,” he said. “Some people never get it. They need to be fired. And sent packing.”
A 26-year veteran of the department, Chaplin was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to lead the department after Greg Suhr was forced to resign. Suhr’s resignation came hours after an officer fatally shot a young black woman in a stolen car.
Before Thursday’s events, Suhr was facing calls for his resignation following a series of fatal police shootings and scandals involving racist and homophobic text messages sent by officers. Chaplin had been working on a series of reforms for the department.
The department plans to do a nationwide search for a permanent chief.