Mayor London Breed in a file photo. The mayor said Wednesday that she supports the decision to promote the new assistant police chief. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor Breed backs new SFPD assistant chief despite past hit-and-run allegations

As a 26-year-old police officer, Assistant Police Chief Michael Redmond was accused of striking a woman with his vehicle and fleeing the scene in 1996.

Mayor London Breed on Wednesday defended Police Chief Bill Scott’s newly promoted second in command after allegations came to light that he was involved in not one but two hit-and-run incidents in the past.

As a 26-year-old police officer, Assistant Police Chief Michael Redmond was accused of striking a woman with his vehicle and fleeing the scene in 1996, the Examiner reported late Tuesday night. Then, about five months later, he faced criminal charges in connection with a second alleged hit and run in San Mateo County.

Despite the allegations, Scott promoted Redmond to serve as one of two assistant chiefs earlier this month, placing him in charge of a majority of the San Francisco Police Department including all district stations and investigations.

Breed supported the chief’s decision in a statement to the Examiner.

“Chief Redmond has been a dedicated member of the Police Department and has shown real leadership in his years of service to this city,” Breed said. “He has developed strong community relationships, worked hard to keep people in our city safe, and helped shape the department.”

“He has held himself accountable and apologized for his mistakes of over twenty years ago and he has gone through the appropriate disciplinary process,” she added. “In San Francisco, we give people second chances and I’m confident Chief Redmond will continue to serve the people of this city going forward.”

Court records show Redmond pleaded no contest and was convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher as a result of the second incident on New Year’s Day 1997.

That incident also resulted in an administrative investigation, according to the department.

But it’s unclear whether Redmond faced an administrative or criminal investigation for allegedly striking the pedestrian, Barbara Rubi, in Noe Valley on Aug. 10, 1996. In a recent interview with the Examiner, Rubi said she thought Redmond should not serve as assistant chief because of his actions on that day.

She sued Redmond around the time of the incident.

Then in 2011, SFPD added Redmond to a confidential list of officers with possible credibility issues, according to a law enforcement source. Redmond landed on the list for hit and run, the source said.

The SFPD keeps the Brady list to comply with a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland. The ruling says that prosecutors must disclose evidence that is helpful to the defense, including anything that could call into question the testimony of a police witness.

There were 113 officers on the Brady list as of earlier this month, but just one was on the command staff, according to the SFPD.

On Wednesday, Scott sent an email to members of the department in which he described the “incidents mentioned in the article” as being over two decades old.

“Mike has built a strong career in his 25 years with SFPD, under the leadership of seven chiefs of police,” Scott wrote. “He has proven his commitment to excellence and dedication to making SFPD and San Francisco a better place for everyone.”

“He is a man of integrity with a respected reputation within our department and in the communities he has served,” he added.

Redmond also issued a statement Tuesday saying he had made “some very bad personal decisions” early in his career.

“I have lived with regret ever since,” Redmond said. “I am not proud of my actions 22 years ago and I have worked every day since to be a better man, a better father and a better officer.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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