Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Cops and Lawyers
All defendants pleaded not guilty today in the SFPD alleged cover-up case. There were no major developments, although the hearings did produce the first public look at the indictments in the case, which an attorney on a local news program criticized as problematic on several technical grounds, including the fact that some counts were apparently tacked on in handwriting after the first draft was signed. The indictments don't seem to be on line yet, but that will presumably change soon.
Three officers were indicted for assault for a fight that took place outside a bar last November. The officers were off duty at the time. One of them, Alex Fagan Jr, is the son of the Assistant Chief of the SFPD, and also has an alarming pattern of using severe force since becoming a cop in 2001. After the SFPD allegedly refused to conduct a full investigation of the incident, Chief Earl Sanders, Alex Fagan Sr, two Deputy Chiefs, a Captain, and two other senior officers were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Since the indictments were issued on Friday, there has been a blizzard of charges, counter-charges, and political maneuvers.
At the moment, the story is obscure. The indictments were put out by a runaway Grand Jury, or they weren't. An unusual attempt was made to get state DA Bill Lockyer to take over the case from SF DA Terence Hallinan, a leftist who has never been popular with police or his own career staff - and lately is even less popular with Mayor Willie Brown. Depending on whom you belive, that came from Brown, or else Brown was furious when he found out that Sanders had done it without his knowledge. And not knowing what the precise alleged overt acts are, or what evidence is behind the charges, hasn't discouraged lots of people from lining up to declare the defendants innocent or guilty.
What is known is that the SFPD has the worst record for solving major crimes of any big city force in California or the country. It seems unlikely that this flurry will change that.