“We need to go after this guy hard...Every allegation he is claiming to investigate actually occurred during his watch...It’s kind of like Bush blaming Obama for invading Iraq.” -- Gary Delagnes, political consultant for the San Francisco Police Officers Association, writing about San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón
When San Francisco's current District Attorney announced that he was reassigning staff to look into three separate scandals currently rocking the San Francisco Police and Sheriff's departments, a top voice for SF cops expressed (ahem) concerns about the DA and his motives, describing him as "an ambitious lunatic" and encouraging followers to "go after" the city's top prosecutor.
Of course you know about these scandals, all of which broke in the last month: Prisoners at SF County jail were allegedly forced to fight, gladiator style, by Sheriff's Deputies. SFPD officers sent racist and homophobic texts to one another. The crime lab screwed up DNA evidence in "hundreds" of cases.
As a reaction, DA Gascón threw a press conference on March 30, saying that “In my entire 30-year-plus career in law enforcement, these are some of the worst allegations that I have seen," KQED reports.
This is probably where we should recall that before then-mayor Gavin Newsom made Gascón SF's DA in January 9, 2011, GG was the chief of the SFPD, and had been since August 7, 2009. So when he says that the recent allegations are "the worst," he's apparently saying they're worse than the crime lab tech that stole coke and screwed up hundreds of crimes back in 2009, the massive backlog at the DNA lab that included 23 murders and 86 rapes in 2010, and the five cops indicted for corruption due in part to video of illegal seizures taken in 2010. That's pretty bad!
ANYWAY. Gascón said at his press event that he was "forming a task force in the district attorney’s office composed of three teams — a team for each of three scandals that broke since mid-March," per KQED and various press releases sent out by his office.
Not everyone is OK with this, however! A great example of the non-OK is Gary Delagnes, who has made no secret of his contempt of Gascón in recent days.
Who is Gary Delagnes? Glad you asked! Delagnes was a cop for 35 years, and was President of the San Francisco Police Officers' Association for nine of those, until his retirement in 2013. He's apparently remained with the POA as a political consultant, reports the Ex, and he's just can't anymore with Gascón.
In a series of emails sent the same day as Gascón's press event, the Ex reports:
San Francisco Police Officers Association leaders criticized Gascón for failing to uncover misconduct during his tenure as police chief and attacked his task force as self-serving promotion at the expense of the police and Sheriff’s Department.
“We need to go after this guy hard,” wrote Gary Delagnes, the union’s political consultant. “... Every allegation he is claiming to investigate actually occurred during his watch. ... It’s kind of like Bush blaming Obama for invading Iraq.”
In a conversation published April 1 by the Chronicle, Delagnes was equally pissed. Calling the DA “an ambitious lunatic," Delagnes "said Gascón...needs to spend more time keeping an eye on the lack of prosecutions by his office."
“Maybe he should look in the mirror first,” Delagnes told the Chron.
"Privately," the Chron notes, "police brass also noted that the offending texts date back to a case that started when Gascón was chief and that he might want to include himself in the investigation."
For his part, Gascón isn't taking those allegations lying down. Admitting that some bad shit did go down when he was in charge, he says that it's impossible for any chief know and be responsible for everything that's happening in his or her department.
And regarding the union, he had even harsher words. “You have the union basically saying ‘We are gonna go after the DA because he’s investigating us and we don’t wasn’t anybody investigating us,’” he told the Ex.
"They are looking for a DA that’s gonna be their puppet," Gascón said, "and will look the other way when there is misconduct.”