S.F. police officers accused of abusing gay man won't face discipline
Three San Francisco police officers accused of verbally abusing and assaulting a gay man they caught urinating in the street will not face possible discipline because the department missed the deadline to take action. At a meeting Wednesday, police commissioners expressed frustration at the department's delay while approving an $83,000 tentative settlement of the man's civil rights lawsuit over the 2004 incident.
"You are talking about a hate crime. It's just a tragedy that the department is unable to do anything about it because it dropped the ball so early on," Commissioner Joe Veronese said, referring to the expired one-year statute of limitations for disciplinary action.
Andrew Marconi, of Sacramento, said in the lawsuit that three officers confronted him at 2:15 a.m. on March 7, 2004, as he urinated outside a San Francisco nightclub. Two of them began using antigay slurs against him, he said.
"You peeing on my streets? Do you think we want your AIDS-infected pee on our streets?" Sgt. Jason Fox asked Marconi, according to the lawsuit.
The man was forced to kneel down into his urine, and Fox slammed his head into a wall and used his hair to clean the urine off the wall, the suit said. Fox and Officer Simon Chan then stripped off Marconi's shirt, used it to mop up the remaining waste, and threatened him with more violence if he was ever caught urinating in public again, it said.
The alleged abuse only stopped when Marconi's friend, an off-duty Stockton police officer, walked up and showed his badge, prompting the officers to leave.
Fox and Chan both denied any abuse in court documents, and Fox claimed Marconi was drunk that night. The third officer at the scene, who did not engage in the alleged abuse, said in the documents that he saw no wrongdoing.
The city attorney has said there was no evidence to support Marconi's claims.
The case never was investigated for possible disciplinary action because Marconi failed to notify the Office of Citizen Complaints, the civilian police watchdog agency. Following its own investigation, the office would have forwarded its findings to the police chief and commission for further action, but none of that ever happened.
The settlement still must go before the city's Board of Supervisors for approval. (AP)