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"The Morning After"

SFPD Officer Andrew Cohen
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Officer Andew Cohen, Special to Fog City Journal

July 6, 2007

The obnoxious alarm buzzer fails to mesh with my dreams and the daily 4 a.m. reality check sets in. On this particular morning however, I get to bask in the afterglow of our first major victory in our fight against Mayor Newsom, Chief Fong and the City & County of San Francisco for their inappropriate and hasty actions in response to a police produced comedy video to be played at a 2005 station Christmas party.

Although this victory is somewhat empty, in that I am still without my gun, my star and the dignity that was stripped along with them, not to mention my continued assignment in the SFPD Records Room (aka “Banishment”), I smile nonetheless.

After my attorney, Michael Rains, argued this case in the articulate and confident fashion he is known for, the 1st Appellate Court opined that “Chief Fong abused her discretion by ordering Cohen’s temporary suspension for reasons that are NOT authorized by the Charter…”.

What appears glaringly apparent is the lower court’s decision to uphold the Chief’s reasoning in the beginning of the VideoGate debacle, showing how the political machine in the City of Saint Francis continues to churn without any regard for people’s lives or future well being. What was so difficult for the Superior Court Judge to see, that the Appellate panel fully recognized immediately? My translation: Dirty Politics as usual.

The Mayor and the Chief were wrong in the beginning of this debacle and they are wrong today for continuing this charade. Homicides are becoming an epidemic in this city and other forms of crime are continuing to rise. Perhaps it is unfair to point the finger and suggest that this rise in crime is the fault of any one faction, or person thereof, but one issue to point out is that the morale problem couldn’t get any worse within the Rank and File officers within the SFPD.

This problem IS directly related to the inefficacy of our Chief coupled with the micro-managing stronghold and puppeteer act of Gavin “All Mighty”. If there is any nexus to be found here, it is this morale issue and the willingness of the effected Officers to perform their duties without first considering the liability factor which is weighing increasingly heavy on their minds.

Handcuff the Officers, and you place everybody else at greater risk. This is a no-brainer.

It is high time that police officers everywhere are treated as human beings and not as robotic pawns. We are held to a higher standard because of the awesome authority bestowed to us. For this, we take an oath to protect and to serve the citizenry of our respective jurisdictions, and this means risking our own lives for complete strangers. If for nothing else, it is because of this that we in law enforcement are due the benefit of the doubt, and the absolute right of due process. We who got caught up in the “Cops Gone Wild” video travesty were not offered either of these. Now we are forced to fight back and we will be relentless in this daunting task of fighting City Hall.

In the meantime, we will continue to bask in the aftermath of this little victory and you can rest assured that your police force will continue to give you the best service that we are able to give. Beyond that, you will have to tell it to the Mayor.




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