S.F. officer wins appeal in offensive video case

A San Francisco police officer who was suspended after he helped make offensive videos as part of a party prank will regain his lost pay after a state appeals court overturned a Superior Court decision denying his claim.

Officer Andrew Cohen, the videographer who produced a series of controversial videos at the Bayview police station, was out of work for five days in an “emergency” suspension after the police administration learned of the videos.

After the footage, which included sexually and racially charged content, was made public in December 2005, Police Chief Heather Fong immediately suspended 24 officers who had been implicated in the scandal. Police officers normally go though an extensive hearing process before a suspension. Cohen sued the department for eight days of lost pay and benefits, claiming that his suspension came with improper notification.

“It’s not a blockbuster decision. It simply means Officer Cohen’s suspension is rescinded. The City will restore pay and benefits for the period of one week,” said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

In May 2006, a San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed Cohen’s claim. Thursday’s decision overturned that dismissal. Cohen will receive eight days’ worth of pay and benefits, and is seeking attorney fees.

Some of the officers implicated in the scandal, including Cohen, have filed a separate, federal lawsuit against the department, alleging racism on Fong’s part. They claim Fong, who is Chinese-American, punished them more harshly than officers of Asian heritage who were also involved. That lawsuit is ongoing.

amartin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A person holds a sign at a vigil for Roger Allen, who was killed by Daly City Police on April 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Daly City asks state to probe fatal police shooting

Daly City officials have asked California Attorney General Rob Bonta to launch… Continue reading

Indoor dining at John’s Grill. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State’s mask mandate to continue until June 15 reopening despite CDC guidance

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation California will wait until next… Continue reading

Officers stand beside a Mobile Command Center parked at U.N. Plaza in 2018 to combat crime and quality of life issues. (Michael Toren/Special to The S.F. Examiner)
Breed announces increase in police presence, community ambassadors in Mid-Market area

San Francisco will add more police officers to the Mid-Market area starting… Continue reading

International Bird Rescue helped save Bay Area birds that were contaminated by mysterious goo in 2015. <ins>(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)</ins>
International Bird Rescue marks 50 years of wildlife protection

Group established in wake of massive oil spill continues essential rehabilitation, research

Most Read