The three-judge Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability and Fairness set up by District Attorney George Gascón to rout racism and homophobia from the ranks of the SFPD appears to have backfired a bit, or at least fallen victim to some high-level trolling. Sworn declarations submitted to the panel by a former president of the Police Officers' Association allege that Gascón himself made racist remarks, back in 2010 at a police function after he left his post as SFPD Chief.
The Chronicle and the Examiner obtained the declarations, which of course the Police Officers Association and maybe the Department itself wanted publicized as they wage war with Gascón. Remember that last month the District Attorney called the police force an "old boy's club," but it's a club to which former Police Officers Association president Gary Delagnes would like to suggest Gascón held membership.
The alleged racism was verbal and occurred at a 2010 Cambridge, Massachusetts dinner where, while drinking and telling some war stories about his time with the LAPD, Gascón (who is Cuban) "made multiple statements that disparaged minorities,” according to Delagnes. “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."
Those in the know are fully aware that Delagnes, who is currently political consultant for the Police Officers Association, is out for Gascón's blood. He's made no secret of his contempt for and anger at the DA writing last April that “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.”
Asked to follow up by the Chronicle, Delagnes said that "If called as a witness by Gascon’s blue-ribbon panel, I will testify in more detail about those statements.”
Delagnes added that “Not once during all of our candid conversations did Chief Gascón ever state that he believed racial, gender, sexual orientation or other bias afflicted the SFPD. Nor did I ever hear of him expressing such a belief or perception to anyone else." Nonetheless, Delagnes appears to claim, Gascón was no hero. "Nor do I recall him undertaking any initiatives to improve diversity at any level within the SFPD. His testimony and public comments now are at odds with how he conducted himself when he served as chief."
A spokesperson for the DA's office responded to the Examiner to deny the allegations, “What [Delagnes] lacks in credibility, he makes up for in imagination,” the spokesperson said.