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San Francisco Police Commission to approve settlements, honor officers

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

September 6, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The San Francisco Police Commission is expected to take a close look at two officer-involved lawsuits tonight before they go to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

In the first case, plaintiff Kevin Jordan filed a lawsuit after embattled "Fajitagate" Officer Alex Fagan Jr. and his partner allegedly broke Jordan's ribs and punctured a lung during a 2003 arrest.

The department later dismissed the arrest charges and Jordan filed the lawsuit, which was the third report of police brutality against Fagan to surface since the early-morning Union Street brawl that made him a household name.

Jordan's attorney, Harriet Ross, argued that the city is legally liable for inadequate training and supervision of Fagan, who had a history of alleged excessive force.

In addition to this case, the police commission is also expected to review the 2002 case of Vilda Curry, 39, who an officer accidentally shot in the abdomen as he fired at a knife wielding suspect near the bustling intersection of Geneva and Mission streets.

Curry had apparently walked out of a nearby Popeye's Chicken fast-food restaurant to see what the commotion on the sidewalk was about when she was shot.

The amount of the settlements in each case has not yet been released.

According to Matt Dorsey with the city attorney's office, the amounts will not be made public until the settlements go before the Board of Supervisors for approval, which should be shortly after an approval by the police commission.

The San Francisco Police Commission is also expected to recognize three officers, two who died while in the line of duty and another who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

A screening committee unanimously voted to place both the names of Officer Nick Tomasito Birco and Sgt. Darryl Tsujimoto on the Wall of Honor, a list displayed in the Hall of Justice commemorating officers who have fallen while in the line of duty.

Tsujimoto, a 15-year veteran of the department, died of a medical condition during a K-9 training exercise on Treasure Island on May 1. He had been in charge of the department's tactical company K-9 unit for about seven years.

Birco, a five-year veteran who was killed July 26 when a suspect's van rammed into his patrol car, is also expected to be honored with a purple heart for sustaining injuries during the apprehension of three robbery suspects.

The police commission is also expected to recognize Inspector Marty Bastiani tonight for his 50-year career with the San Francisco Police Department.

An inspector with the sexual assault detail, Bastiani is the longest tenured officer working in the department. The commission is expected to honor him with a special commendation.

Today's meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in room 400 of San Francisco City Hall.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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