San Francisco police detain suspects recording a music video in the Bayview in March 2015 (Brian Storm/Youtube)

Police watchdog sustains allegations against SFPD gang expert

The police watchdog agency in San Francisco has sustained two allegations against a prominent officer in the Gang Task Force who was recorded calling a deputy public defender a “bitch” and ridiculing black men.

The Department of Police Accountability, formerly known as the Office of Citizen Complaints, determined in its preliminary findings Jan. 5 that Insp. Leonard Broberg made “sexually derogatory comments,” behaved inappropriately and made other inappropriate comments, according to a letter obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

While the watchdog agency sustained the allegations that he used a sexual slur and engaged in “conduct reflecting discredit on the department,” the agency did not sustain the allegation of harassment. Broberg was accused of harassing an attorney who worked for the Public Defender’s Office.

“This is a personnel matter and we are not able to comment,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak, a San Francisco Police Department spokesperson. Broberg previously apologized for his language to the SF Weekly.

The trouble for Broberg began in March 2015 when police interrupted a crowd of black men who were recording a music video in the Bayview. Police believed many of the men were “Big Block” gang members, arresting one on suspicion of drug possession and another for allegedly holding a loaded handgun.

An audio recording from after the incident captured Broberg and other officers discussing the incident at a police station, deciding which of the men involved are gang members or associates. The officers can also be heard deciding what gangs the men belong to, like “Kirkwood” or “Big Block.”

The audio, which police released to the Public Defender’s Office during discovery in multiple court cases, begins with a comment from Broberg about Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young.

“This is what happens when I spend two days with Rebecca Young, bitch,” Broberg says, according to the audio made public by the Public Defender’s Office.

Young said the allegations against Broberg are particularly troubling because he is in charge of training other police officers.

“He’s creating gang dossiers on young kids of colors who are not gang members,” Young said. “His language that he uses is contempt for young African American men, he has nothing but contempt for the young African American men who live in the neighborhood.”

Broberg can also be heard trying to identify the men involved using the terms “ugly fucker” and “fat guy.”

“They should all be in church,” Broberg can be heard saying to laughter. “Or home getting ready for their job interviews or go to work on Monday.”

Broberg previously told SF Weekly that the Public Defender’s Office released the audio in retaliation for arresting an attorney working for the office in October 2015. He also apologized for the language.

“We’ve all had afternoons where we refer to people by names, but here’s the thing: When you listen to the recording, did you hear anything racial?” Broberg said.

The case will now either be reviewed by SFPD Chief William Scott or the Police Commission to for potential disciplinary action.

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