Gary Delagnes served twenty-five years on the San Francisco police force, nine of them as president of the Police Officers Association. He retired in 2013. Early in March this year, he testified to a task force set up by George Gascon, District Attorney, to investigate alleged racism, gender bias and homophobia within the police department.
Gascon served as the San Francisco Chief of Police from 2009 to 2011, when he became District Attorney. Delagnes told the task force that he and Gascon worked well together. Although Gascon now portrays the POA as a force holding back reform in the department, he never expressed such an opinion while he was the Chief of Police.
Delagnes also said he and Gascon routinely spoke together several times a week. They sometimes ate dinner together, and met for coffee every Tuesday.
During their conversations, Gascon never indicated he thought the force was affected by racism, homophobia or gender bias. He had few issues with the POA or most of the rank and file officers. They were able to resolve most disciplinary matters. Delagnes said they often discussed the department, and Gascon was very frank. He was also very fair. He never criticized the department’s system of disciplinary actions or the POA’s approach.
Delagnes pointed out that although Gascon now complains of how the police department has an old boys’ network, as chief he himself contributed to that by promoting men who graduated from Catholic high schools or Lowell.
Delagnes’s most damaging statements, however, consists of a description of a 2010 in Cambridge Massachusetts. Delagnes, Gascon and Martin Halloran, current POA president, attended a police union leadership forum put on by Harvard Law School.
He made multiple disparaging comments about minorities. He spoke so loudly that an African-American man asked him to hold it down because Gascon was offending the man’s family. Halloran, in his statement to the task force, backed up Delagnes’s description of Gascon’s behavior at the event.
Additional information for Gascon: