San Francisco police responded in late May to an early morning domestic violence call in a housing complex south of Candlestick Point.
When they arrived they found a 29-year-old man and his long-time girlfriend drunk after a long night out. The man, who police eventually arrested, turned out to be one of their officers. Now he could lose his job if he’s convicted of even one of the felonies he’s been charged with.
Craig Perry was arrested May 22 after the police responded to the 3 a.m. call. Perry, who posted his $103,000 bail later that day, pleaded not guilty to three charges related to the incident Friday in San Francisco Superior Court.
He has been charged with a felony domestic violence count, a felony assault count and a misdemeanor count of destroying or removing a cellular device. A stay away order was issued by the judge.
But Perry’s lawyer says there is another explanation for the incident. Perry’s lawyer, Bill Fazio, said the incident, while regrettable, is not a case of domestic violence. It is instead the case of two people drinking too much and then fighting one another.
“Both people’s actions were fueled by alcohol,” said Fazio, who noted that both of them had minor injuries. “There was a disagreement that unfortunately took on physical attributes.”
Fazio noted one of the officers in the police report said the pair were involved in “mutual combat.”
Perry’s girlfriend, according to Fazio, called police and then called back and wanted to cancel the call but by that point it was too late.
Perry, who’s been in the force for six years, was last assigned to the Southern Station and is currently on paid administrative leave for a month pending the investigation. As is policy in such cases, Perry has handed in his weapon.
His next court date is Tuesday at 9 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.
While the allegations against Perry aren’t the first time such a charge has been leveled against a police officer, new rules recently put into place could make such charges an even more serious matter locally.
Earlier this year the police commission created a new general order barring anyone convicted of domestic violence from applying to be in the force as part of comprehensive new rules on domestic violence cases involving officers. But the new rules don’t specify what happens to an officer already on the force who is convicted of such an offense.
A department spokesman said he didn’t have more details on the matter and said to refer to the domestic violence general order.