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SF police union claims Gascon made disparaging remarks

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Members of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, including president Martin Halloran, fourth from right, at a Jan. 20 Police Commission meeting in solidarity with officers who shot and killed Mario Woods. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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San Francisco police union members claimed in sworn declarations Tuesday that District Attorney George Gascon made drunken remarks disparaging minorities in 2010 — the latest allegation in a back-and-forth dispute between the law enforcement figures.

In a statement made under penalty of perjury, former Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes claimed that Gascon made the offensive remarks about his time at the Los Angeles Police Department at a dinner in Cambridge, Mass., almost six year ago.

At the time, Gascon was chief of the San Francisco Police Department.

“He made multiple statements that disparaged minorities,” Delagnes said. “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.”

Alex Bastian, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, denied the allegations. “What [Delagnes] lacks in credibility, he makes up for in imagination,” he said.

Since last summer, the police union and Gascon have been feuding over the DA’s convening of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability and Fairness, which is a three-judge panel charged with seeking out potential bias in the Police Department.

Gascon has accused the police union of stonewalling the investigation, which the POA denies.

At the second public meeting of Blue Ribbon Panel last month, in which Chief Greg Suhr was interviewed, panel officials said they were in negotiations with union leaders over when and under what circumstances they would come before the panel.

But the negotiations have since broken down, said Anand Subramanian, the executive director of the panel.

Subramanian said the union was only willing to come before the commission if their lawyer was the one to ask POA President Martin Halloran the questions.

Now it appears that is just what they have done through the declarations.

The union released to the public the series of declarations on Wednesday morning, which called Gascon a hypocrite and the last person who should have handpicked a panel meant to look into police misconduct.

The declaration’s release to the public was seen as a victory for the union in their ongoing feud with Gascon, according to an internal email obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

The March 1 email sent to Delagnes, Halloran and other union leaders congratulated the group for the statements and a resulting news story about the matter. The email also praised the man responsible for the publicity: the union’s politically connected consultant Nathan Ballard, who has been handling issues around the panel.

“Gascon is a phony and he picked a fight with the wrong people,” noted the email sent by Gregg Adam, the union’s lawyer whose name is on top of the declarations. “Fantastic job Mr. Ballard.”

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