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Alioto and Delagnes appear on the O'Reilly Factor

Chronicle Use of Force report, Board of Supervisors Bush impeachment resolution debated

Bill O'Reilly
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

February 13, 2006, 8:00 p.m.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Angela Alioto and Police Officer's Association President, Gary Delagnes, were invited guests on the O'Reilly Factor today to answer 'no-spin-zone' questions from Bill O'Reilly, the show's host.

The San Francisco Chronicle's recent Use of Force series of reports and the Board of Supervisor's resolution calling for a full investigation, impeachment, or resignation of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, were the hotly debated topics of discussion.

Angela Alioto

Gary Delagnes

A transcript of the exchange follows:

O'Reilly: You feel the San Francisco Chronicle is wrong, erroneous, picking on the cops? What are they doing?

Delagnes: This has been about a five-year process of battering the police department every chance they can get. I can only assume that they believe it sells papers in a place like San Francisco. We're the most diverse police department in the United States. Over 45% of our members are either gay, female, or people of color. We're the most scrutinized police department in the United States with four civilian agencies that investigate us on any given day, so we're having a little hard time understanding why the Chronicle feels that now is the time to once again come after our cops.

O'Reilly: Ok… The Chronicle asserts that roughly 100 officers out of a force of 2200 account for 25% of violence… force, used on the streets of San Francisco, and that those people aren't monitored properly because you don't have the computer systems to do it. Are they wrong?

Delagnes: Yes they are very much wrong. The reporting statistics and the style of reporting for use of force violations is different in San Francisco than any other place that I know of in the United States. For example, if you have a complaint of pain because the handcuffs are too tight, in San Francisco you actually have to make a notation of that in a police report and in what we call a use of force log, so I think you can see that would most certainly skew the statistics.

O'Reilly: Do you think the San Francisco Chronicle is out to get the police, to demoralize the police? Do they want a kinder gentler police force? What's the motive behind the report?

Delagnes: I think there's a certain segment of San Francisco that doesn't even want law enforcement in San Francisco. I think the Chronicle is trying to sell papers. They have a diminishing readership and this is the way they think it's going to work to do it.

O'Reilly (interrupting): All right, they're pandering to their far left base. How do you see it Angela?

Alioto: I think that's absolutely ridiculous. I think Gary Delagnes is in total denial. The San Francisco Police Department is one of the best departments in the nation. We have about 5 to 7 per cent of those officers who use excessive force. They need to be investigated. They need to be punished and indeed, in my opinion, if that excessive force is found to be true they need to be exited from the San Francisco police department.

O'Reilly (interrupting): Mr. Delagnes asserts there are four civilian oversight committees in order to do that, plus internal affairs, so what's the problem?

Alioto: The problem is San Francisco's never had an accountability system like Mayor Gavin Newsom suggested yesterday. He's absolutely right. We've got to initiate that as the Chronicle suggested.

O'Reilly (interrupting): If you have the four civilian oversights, and you have the internal affairs, what else do you need? I mean, that sounds like a lot of oversight to me.

Alioto: We have too much leniency going on…

O'Reilly (interrupting): Too much leniency?

Alioto: Leniency meaning, with all due respect to Gary Delagnes, a union that fights for people that stay in who have had 22… (pause), 28 prior incidences of excessive force.

O'Reilly (interrupting): But how pervasive is this? This is what I'm trying to get at. Look, every police force has bad people on it. I mean everybody knows that. But if you have 100 officers out of 2200, that's not a lot. I mean that's less than 5%, and the Chronicle doesn't assert that they did anything. All they say is that these guys, and they could be, you know, in the worst neighborhoods in the worse kind of stuff, narcotics or whatever, are responsible for a high rate of force violations. Look, you know, you've been on the Board of Supervisors, you know what police work is. If you're down in the sewer or the gutter with these people, they're gonna throw everything they can at you, particularly if you're good, if you're a good cop. They're going to try and get you.

Alioto (interrupting): I not only know what police work is, my son Joe, before he was a police commissioner, was a San Francisco Police officer…

O'Reilly: Right...

Alioto (continuing): at 19 years old. I'm fully aware of that, but Bill, you surely are not suggesting that we just let the 100 be 100 (unintelligible).

O'Reilly (interrupting): I'm not sure… It's not many and I'm not sure what the big deal is out of that. Most other police forces say 'gee, just a hundred… that's not so bad.'

Alioto: No, but do something about the 100 who have excessive force records.

O'Reilly: But I don't see that the San Francisco Chronicle has leveled any charges against any of these hundred, have they Gary?

Delagnes: Well, that's absolutely right and in a City as democratic as San Francisco we've decided to convict these people before they've had a trial. That's interesting. The OCC, which is the civilian agency that overseas the San Francisco police department - I don't think I have to tell you where their politics lie - they were only able to sustain 38 excessive force complaints in 2004 out of 1.1 million calls for service. That's 1 in every 27,500 calls for service.

O'Reilly (interrupting): All right… I didn't see enough hard data to warrant the big brouhaha. Now I gotta ask you this Angela…and we appreciate….

Alioto: (interrupting) I've gotta have one last word here on this issue.

O'Reilly: Ok, we'll give you the last word, Angela, but let's get to the impeachment…

Alioto: The individual incidences have been investigated, is the concept of investigating the aggregate. Has this one officer with 22 priors, should he still be on the streets?

O'Reilly (interrupting): All right. I can't get into one guy. Angela, we have a minute left. Doesn't it make your City look stupid to have the Board of Supervisors say President Bush should be impeached? It's just dumb.

Alioto: You know that is so San Francisco. With all due respect I wrote the first smoking ban in 1993 and Ireland just copied us. You will see that the rest of the country will follow us once we do this. It is extremely important to note San Francisco believes this is not a justified war. We should not be in Iraq. We should bring home all of our men and women from Iraq.

O'Reilly (interrupting): All right. I don't think the rest of the country want San Francisco calling the shots on the war on terror Angela. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm wrong now (shouting over Alioto). I don't know if they want Gavin Newsom out there in charge of homeland security. Call me crazy. All right counselor, Gary, thanks very much.




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