Former San Francisco Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes alleged in March that District Attorney and former SFPD Chief George Gascon made racial slurs during a night out with police union leaders. Delagnes gave a sworn statement to a blue-ribbon task force, which Gascon had originally established to investigate allegations of homophobia and racism within the police department.
Gascon had appeared before the task force eight days earlier, at which time he criticized the police union for obstructing reform within the department.
Delagnes, who spent 25 years on the force before retiring as POA president in 2013, told of a 2010 dinner with Gascon, present POA President Martin Halloran and another union representative. The dinner, part of a police union leadership forum organized by Harvard University, took place in Cambridge, MA. Delagnes alleged that then-Chief Gascon, who had had a few drinks, “began reminiscing on his time with the Los Angeles Police Department. He made multiple statements that disparaged minorites.” Delagnes said that the former Chief “became so loud and animated that an African American patron asked him to restrain himself, as he was offending his family.”
District attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian wouldn’t respond directly to the allegations, but inferred that Delagnes might have embellished the account.
Delagnes said in his statement that he decided to speak up against his former boss after reading that Gascon told the blue-ribbon panel that he worried more now about the state of the SFPD than during his term as police chief from 2009-2011. The former POA president claimed that, as far as he knew, Gascon had few complaints with the police union when he headed the department, and that he spoke with Gascon two or three times per week. He even attended Gascon’s wedding.
When interviewed, Halloran agreed with Delagnes’ account of the evening, but neither would give specifics. Delagnes told the San Francisco Chronicle that, “If called as a witness by Gascon’s blue-ribbon panel, I will testify in more detail about those statements.”
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