Confidence in SF police chief remains high in face of whistleblower allegations

Examiner file photoChief Greg Suhr

Examiner file photoChief Greg Suhr

Police Chief Greg Suhr remains in the good graces of City Hall leadership despite filings in a whistleblowing lawsuit that allege a history of “skirting the law.”

“Mayor Lee has full confidence in Chief Suhr,” said Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee.

The civil lawsuit, which was settled in late April for $725,000, was filed by attorney Kelly O’Haire, who alleged she was fired by Suhr in 2011 in retaliation for investigating the police chief’s disciplinary history with the department. The deeper investigation stemmed from a probe into Suhr’s alleged mishandling of a domestic violence incident involving his friend. Those records showed that Suhr had allegedly once lied to the FBI to get a security clearance, failed to report an officer’s story of anti-gay harassment and videotaped protesters despite department rules baring such action.

Furthermore, a motion in the suit included a deposition wherein District Attorney George Gascon said the mayor and his chief of staff, Steve Kawa, were told about the retaliation against O’Haire but did nothing.

Lee has said he doesn’t recall any such conversation with Gascon, and Suhr has said he terminated O’Haire because the department had a budget deficit that necessitated layoffs. Suhr also has contended that the documents from the case outlining his disciplinary history don’t tell the full story.

The mayor’s sentiment was echoed by Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“I am a big fan of Chief Suhr. He has my full confidence,” said Wiener, who has worked closely with Suhr for years and believes the top cop runs a diverse and progressive department. “I am not gonna comment on allegations.”

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