Veteran SF cop arrested on alleged gun charges was disciplined in 2003 for illegal search

Thomas Abrahamsen. (Courtesy SFPD)

San Francisco police Officer Thomas Abrahamsen’s arrest this week on suspicion of felony gun possession is not the first time the veteran cop has been in trouble.

In fact, Abrahamsen more than a decade ago had to write an essay on civil liberties as punishment for an illegal search and was put on two years probation for lying to his superiors, according to documents from the disciplinary case.

Earlier this week Abrahamsen, 50, was booked into San Francisco County Jail and charged with felony possession and manufacturing of an assault rifle.

The 18-year veteran officer, who worked out of the Taraval Station covering the Sunset District area, is on unpaid leave. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday, and could not be reached for comment.

Past discipline

In 2003, Abrahamsen was disciplined along with his partner for violating a man’s civil rights two years prior and for lying to their superiors.

According to the disciplinary records from the case, and one of the victims, the incident unfolded one night in August 2001.

Marin County resident Karl Levey, now 63, was out at Ocean Beach for a late night stroll with a friend, he told the San Francisco Examiner recently about the incident.

As the pair stood in the beach parking lot near their van, they paid little attention to the nearby patrol car until the car neared them and two cops — Abrahamsen and his partner Officer Arkady Zlobinsky — jumped out and told them to put their hands over their heads.

The men cooperated and were searched, recalled Levey. The officers went through their pockets, and the officers even searched their socks and underwear.

“They kept asking us, ‘What are you doing here?’” Levey recalled.

When the officers asked to search the van, Levey asked if they had probable cause and refused to acquiesce unless they did.

“Finally, they said, ‘You can’t be standing here,’” Levey said. The officers eventually left the scene, but Levey noted there was a passenger in the patrol car.

Levey filed a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints and the officers were found to have searched the men outside of the scope of authority, according to OCC files. Four other allegations were unfounded.

But the officers were also punished for transporting girls in their police car, the San Francisco Chronicle reported April 7, 2005. An allegation of lying to their superiors for having an unauthorized person in their patrol car was dropped as part of their plea.

According to the Chronicle, the Police Commission suspended Abrahamsen and his partner for 15 days and placed both on a two year probation. Additionally, both were ordered by the commission to write 2,500 word essays on the importance of following department general orders.

Zlobinsky was forced to resign in 2006 after facing a laundry list of misconduct charges. He was later sentenced to state prison for multiple felonies related to a crime in San Mateo County.


Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink

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