SFPD REVISES CHARGES AGAINST ACCUSED FAJITAGATE
By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service
February 1, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Revised charges will be read tonight
against San Francisco police Officer Matthew Tonsing, accused
of helping to beat a San Francisco man in November 2002 after
the man refused to relinquish a bag of steak fajitas.
Tonsing was cleared of criminal assault charges in 2004, but
departmental disciplinary charges against him are pending and
have been rewritten to indicate that Tonsing not only participated
in the beating, but also instigated it.
The incident, which quickly became known as "Fajitagate,''
also involved new recruit Alex Fagan, Jr. and Officer David Lee,
who allegedly collected Fagan and Tonsing in his car. It led to
the indictment of then Police Chief Earl Sanders as well as then-Assistant
Chief Alex Fagan, Fagan Jr.'s father.
Though the actual charge of conduct unbecoming an officer will
remain the same for Tonsing, the revised document includes five
extra paragraphs describing the incident.
The original departmental charging document states that Tonsing
and the two officers he was with "used force and violence
on the person of (the) victim, resulting in the infliction of
serious bodily injury on him.''
The revised document comes to the same conclusion, but includes
several paragraphs detailing how Tonsing allegedly followed the
victim up Laguna Street, taunting him and engaging in "profanity-laced
Tonsing allegedly kept up his haranguing while the victim reached
his car and opened the door, apparently to drive away from the
situation, and continued his taunts until the victim finally confronted
him instead of getting into the car. That confrontation led to
the fight, according to charging documents.
Tonight, the Police Commission will hear the revised charges,
but it will not take any action on the case.
Neither Tonsing's lawyer, Freya Horne, nor the San Francisco
Police Officers Association representative handling his case was
available for comment today.
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