Police Commission contender’s hot-headed history includes assault allegation

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There’s a new Police Commission contender in town: Olga Miranda, the firebrand president of Service Employees International Union Local 87.

She’s no stranger to regular readers of this column, as Miranda organized her janitor union members — in a big way — to hit the campaign trail for freshman Supervisor Ahsha Safai.

Many of those members complained she gave them two options: Help Safai, or pay a fine to the union.

Now, Miranda is applying for an open seat on one of San Francisco’s most powerful commissions, which decides rules of force for the San Francisco Police Department and plays a role in discipline for officers who clash with the public, among other high-profile duties.

Commissioner Petra DeJesus’ seat will become available on April 30. But DeJesus, a progressive and fierce defender of police reform, could be reappointed.

So why replace her?

Is it a political situation of “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” from Safai to Miranda? It’s tough to say. The moderate wing of the Board of Supervisors may be ready to support Miranda for this key position already.

Miranda has a tumultuous past, however, and some of the skeletons in her closet leapt to the fore just this week.

A man named Ming, who’s last name is being withheld, alleged to the SFPD that Miranda assaulted him late last year. The charges were not pursued, I’ve learned, but a leaked recording reveals an aggressive dressing down of subordinates in the meeting and calls into question Miranda’s temperament and fitness to serve.

Ming alleged in a police report that Miranda lunged across a room to attack him at a regular meeting of Local 87 on Dec. 8, 2016, and was restrained by a fellow union member. Despite that restraint, Miranda reportedly managed to grab a cup of hot coffee and throw it in the man’s face.

Ming complained of burns to his face and lap but told me he did not seek medical care. He did, however, file a police report.

“Had police been called, I would have been arrested, don’t you think?” Miranda told me. “I find it very misogynistic that a woman has to behave a certain way to get the job done.”

When asked if it is appropriate for a police commissioner to cuss at subordinates or throw coffee in their faces, Miranda said I was misogynistic for suggesting appropriate behavior for a woman. She also pointed out that the police report was filed several days after the incident, which she said called into question if Ming was truly injured.

The SFPD confirmed the details in the police report. No charges were filed and no arrests were made, though the District Attorney’s Office and the SFPD were unable to say why.

The Police Commission often hears matters necessitating a cool head, from officer-involved shooting deaths to delicate negotiations with the Police Officers Association.

But a leaked audio recording shows Miranda’s temperament to be anything but cool.

EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: An audio recording from a Service Employees International Union Local 87 meeting on Dec. 8, 2016. (WARNING: Explicit language)

Early on in that same December meeting, some two hours before the coffee incident, one of Miranda’s union members said to her, “I respect you, but sometimes I don’t like the way you are speaking out, even when you endorse Ahsha [Safai], in front of people.”

Miranda replied, “I don’t live in the Republic of China, so I’m [not] going to get burned to death in Tiananmen square. I live in the United States. I’m a citizen, and I can express myself any goddamn way I choose to.”

The union member replied, “You’re a president of the union. You have to be careful what you say.”

Later on in the meeting, Ming criticized how much money Miranda and others had spent from their budget after Miranda asked the union board members to pay more money for a recent election they had won.

Miranda zeroed in on Ming. “Who bought a bunch of fucking pizza that we didn’t need that had a lot of pork in it? We couldn’t feed goddamn anybody … we reimbursed you for fucking pizza that had pork in it.”

Ming replied, “Don’t cuss.”

Miranda replied that her only concern was paying back the money owed for the election, to which she added, “Then go fuck yourself then. Walk like a little bitch and walk the fuck out. You’re the one who walked out. You’re so good at punking yourself out.

“You’re a fucking embarrassment to manhood, alright?” she said.

Stammering, Ming replied, “Look at yourself, look at yourself, look at yourself.”

Miranda replied, “I am, honey. And all of my great shit. Fuck you, motherfucker. Fuck you, motherfucker. And your mother and your wife, too. Your wife and your mother, too.”

The group of board members began to shout at her to stop, shouting, “No!”

Miranda then said, “You want to come for me? You want to fucking come for me? … You called me a bitch that’s why I called you a motherfucker.” (I could not hear Ming call Miranda a bitch in the audio recording.)

“Don’t call me a bitch if you’re not ready to come for me, bitch,” Miranda added.

Ultimately, Miranda’s fitness to serve on the Police Commission is up to the Board of Supervisors, which would appoint her.

When I repeated her words back to her for comment, Miranda said, “I would just tell you to come and talk to the members. At the end of the day, it’s the members who want me here or who don’t want me here. I don’t mince my words. I am direct.”

Miranda filed her paperwork to serve on April 11, just five days after registering to vote in San Francisco, which was first reported by news site 48 Hills. The blog also reported she has a voting record in Albany, implying she once lived there and perhaps still does, though Miranda told me she lives in San Francisco. Residency in San Francisco is required to serve on the Police Commission.

The public can decide for itself whether Miranda has the temperament to serve. It’s the public’s right to let their supervisors know if they should vote for Miranda’s confirmation.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter.

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