During his service as Police Chief, current San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon had developed a tight relationship with the police union that he now criticizes for lacking concern about diversity in the Police Department and describes the union as obstructionist. Gascon even made some racially charged remarks during an alcohol-fueled night out with union leaders. These are just a few of the assertions made by Gary Delagnes, the former President of the Police Officers Association, in a sworn declaration he made.
Delagnes made this submission to a blue-ribbon task force that was put to task to investigate allegations of racism and homophobia in the police department. The task force was put together by Gascon. Delagnes’ submission came just eight days after the testimony by Gascon. Gascon testimony included an allegation that the police union had influence on the ability of a police chief or even police commission to bring reforms into effect.
Delagnes served in the force for two and a half decades and also served as the POA president for nine years. He went on his retirement in 2013. Delagnes is well known for throwing verbal punches and he saves the haymaker for the end in his declaration. He recounts the happenings of a 2010 dinner attended by the current POA President Martin Halloran, Gascon, a union representative from Cambridge and himself. This was at a time the group was attending a forum organized by Harvard Business School on Police Union Leadership.
According to Delagnes, then Police Chief Gascon was drinking heavily and started recalling his time of service in the Los Angeles Police Department. During the reminiscence, Gascon proceeded to make statements that clearly disparaged minorities. He became loud and animated that he offended the family of an African-American patron who approached him with the request for Gascon to restrain himself.
Upon receiving the sworn declaration, the DA’s office spokesman Alex Bastian failed to respond directly to the charge that had been presented by Delagnes. He went on to state that Delagnes’ imagination made up for what he lacked in credibility. According to a statement by Delagnes, he spoke up after reading Gascon’s testimony to the blue-ribbon panel. In his opinion, Gascon had a number of issues with the union leaders or rank and file when he was in charge of running the department.
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