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SF Police Chief Speaks Out About Yale Baker's Dozen Assault

Heather Fong, the San Francisco Chief of Police, defended her department's handling of the New Year's Eve assault on Yale singing group The Baker's Dozen. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Fong said that officers on the scene couldn't find anyone to substantiate the charges: "When the facts are there and we have individuals providing information specifically saying this person did this, then we ... act. But those individuals weren't there for the officers to interview."

Bd_1Fong said that police logs on the night of the incident suggest that "at least some of the officers dismissed the incident as minor."

The investigation is still clearly in its early stages, as Fong says the department still has 50 or 60 interviews to conduct as well as photographic and video evidence from the scene to review.

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom's spokesman, Peter Ragone, said that the mayor is "deeply concerned" about the incident: "He is confident that the Police Department will engage in a thorough, swift and fair investigation and take the appropriate action. If any laws were broken, that should be dealt with appropriately. If any conduct was unacceptable, that will be dealt with appropriately as well."

Anti-violence groups in the city are keeping a watchful eye on the investigation. Said Tina D'Elia of Community United Against Violence: This is really serious on a very public level. [The incident shows] a level of targeted rage and hatred that is really scary and to me just screams that it is a problem that's not going away. ... If that's not addressed, then what do we have? We have dead bodies."

UPDATE: SFPD coming under increased scrutiny over handling...

Fong defends handling of Yale singers' beating case [sf chronicle]

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Comments

  1. Don’t anyone hold his or her breath for any real investigation. The prime perp is the son of a well known SF MD and contributor to many politicos including the Mayor. Chief Fong is a disgrace, she has never done any police work that required getting out from behind a desk. The cops hate her the citizens’ hate her and the city suffers. Meanwhile Mayor Newsom shows his frat boy roots by stubbornly standing behind Fong no mater how badly she does her job. Sounds like another famous frat boy (GWB) doesn’t it?

    Posted by: Kevinsf | Jan 11, 2007 3:10:04 PM


  2. It is also interesting, that in the Reuters article I read, the gay slurs were not even mentioned.

    Posted by: BobE | Jan 11, 2007 3:50:10 PM


  3. "Sounds like another famous frat boy (GWB) doesn’t it?"


    No, it sounds like Bush Derangement Syndrome to me.

    Posted by: Tom | Jan 11, 2007 3:55:15 PM


  4. I don't think it's a "minor" incident to organize a 20 people ambush with the premedited intent of beating up a singing group. And getting one's jaw broken and wired shut sounds a serious injury to me.

    I don't know, but from the article it seems to me the police mishandled the investigation in the early stages. The victims apparently had to take photos themselves, and bring it to the police who told them they were "not satisfied with just obtaining the digital photos". Well well, cover-up much?

    Posted by: Da | Jan 11, 2007 4:16:39 PM


  5. Oh, Tom rears his ugly Republikkklan head... again. Tom, you suffer from ACP, Accute Clinton Paranoia? ...

    As for the case, that's f*in bullshit. The police didn't even take pictures, and one of the victims was flown to NYC for facial reconstruction surgery involving two titanium plates. What do the SFPD think happened? That these kids hit themselves and made up charges against these "poor, innocent youths"? I can see it now: "Hey guys, I have a GREAT idea. Let's hit each other in the face, one of us can bash his head in the ground till he breaks his jaw, then we can accuse six random guys that they beat us up. Oh, and make sure one of them is the son of a prominent San Francisco figure." Utter non-sense. It does smell like CYA - Cover Your Ass. Someone F*&ked up and instead of calling it like it is, the Chief and the Mayor are bullshitting their way through this. P.R., P.R., P.R. I can hear the spinning going on as I type. God Bless America.

    Posted by: Cory | Jan 11, 2007 4:29:21 PM


  6. Thanks, Andy, for following up on this story. Please continue to keep us informed. And I agree: generally speaking, a victim's need for emergency facial reconstruction surgery suggests that the incident was far from "minor."

    Posted by: Ed Sikov | Jan 11, 2007 4:46:59 PM


  7. Does anyone have an email address or phone # for Chief Fong? I think she needs to hear from us.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Jan 11, 2007 4:55:24 PM


  8. Gay men need to stop voting for good-looking straight men because of their appearance. The mayor of DC is a dumbass and will abandon gays if it's politically sound even though they were a major supporter of his campaign. The mayor of San Fransisco is a dumbass and has caused increasing anger toward gay people. He needs to get a kick in the ass. And Kong can get jumped by 20 people for all I care.

    Posted by: Jack | Jan 11, 2007 5:39:33 PM


  9. Another local weekly contains an SFPD representative's explanation of the officers behavior, but I don't think his statements hold together.

    http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=1474

    "The suspects were not arrested immediately because of the 48-hour window the police have to complete an investigation before releasing suspects from custody, said SFPD spokesman Neville Gittens."

    So officers arrive at a scene where two of the victims have been beaten so badly they have to be immediately hospitalized and they don't want to arrest anyone because it would mean having to work on New Year's Day? Justice is blind, but does take federal holidays off.

    "Additionally, he said that the incident differs from a one-on-one assault, in that the police need to gather accounts from as many witnesses and participants as possible."

    Wouldn't the police conduct interviews and take photos on the spot though to gather information for further investigation on the spot?

    A few years ago when a tree blew down on my truck in a storm, the SFPD officers woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me to answer some questions, confirm that I'd parked it there myself, check that everything was still in it, etc. They also took photos of the damage themselves and one office gave me a case number for my insurance company and her own contact information.

    That was how SFPD officers treated a car attacked by a tree! The B.A.R. story continues...

    "Gittens called the alleged attack an isolated incident not involving strangers, and no one is a current threat, therefore there is no sense of urgency."

    The fact two of the people had to be taken away by ambulance does seem to be evidence of a threat in itself. In order to determine there was no longer a threat and the situation was not urgent, the police would have needed to conduct an investigation, especially (as Gittens said) because this was not a one-on-one assault and there where other assailants who had arrived by van and ran away before they could be detained at the scene.

    Posted by: Jamison | Jan 11, 2007 6:13:02 PM


  10. OMG!! That's a police chief? How does the fool Fong think the guy who needs to get his face reconstructed got hurt? When he slapped himself? Look guys I'm a Canuck so I don't know what's going on in the gay capital of the world. But from up here it looks bad. Gay men need to stand up to these homophobe punks. Form fighting self defence groups. Use all that precious muscle mass to beat up on those who spill gay blood like it was fucking water. The ones who terrify gay kids in the schools,the ones who make our lives hell. The ones who disrespect our dead friends who can't fight back. We need to use some of that precious muscle mass to put the fear of god into these homophobes. Instead of just admiring those pecs, or jiggling our tits at circuit parties. Look I know I'm just a hoser from the land of hockey goons. But just like we do on the ice.If some guy takes cheap shots, and the ref doesn't intervene we take care of the problem ourselves. And we got our rights and you don't. Finally.....just remember that Martin Luther King would have got nowhere if the Black Panthers weren't there. So King could tell the oppressors who would you rather deal with? Them or us? Come on brothers I know you can do it. I'm not calling for vigilante groups. Just groups of gay men who have enough self respect to stand up to those who would attack us. And teach them that our blood doesn't come cheap...

    Posted by: Simon | Jan 11, 2007 6:32:49 PM


  11. http://iteamblog.abc7news.com/2007/01/our_investigati.html

    You can see the phone number in there for the attacker's home.

    Posted by: blah | Jan 11, 2007 8:31:31 PM


  12. Simon don't worry, some of us don't buy that easily into spin.

    Police chiefs are trained to spin events like this, so they can buy a bit of time in hopes everyone moves on from the story. It's their job..but the message is always the same: "don't worry and go back home, when it's you who get attacked we'll handle it then".

    The reality is, they don't handle it enough because they don't take these kind of things seriously..it's like "wah? some 20 guys called you fags and you didn't defend yourselves? don't you know it's what boys do, yo!". Really, how about you doing your job as well?

    Posted by: Da | Jan 11, 2007 9:09:18 PM


  13. Sorry, Simon, but fear of the Black Panthers, which formed only two years before his death, were hardly a component in the successes of Martin Luther King, though fear of black violence generally definitely played a role in the civil rights revolution and I endorse a more aggressive approach by gay activists.

    As for some other entries in this thread, sometimes one can simply ignore the twaddle of people with the minds of children, but knowing how quickly mean-spirited misinformation can snowball into accepted “fact,” one must observe that the “SF” in “KEVINSF” must stand for “Silly Fool." Even if you are a SF resident, your reference to Gavin Newsom as showing “his frat boy roots” is 1. stupid in and of itself—are fraternities operating birth clinics now? And, 2. misinformed.

    Given you the benefit of the doubt, that misinformation probably persists from the dishonest and often despicable campaign by Matt Gonzalez against Newsom for mayor. Gonzalez reps exploited Newsom’s post college business success and friendship with the Getty family to portray him as some kind of trust fund baby, when that was never the case. His parents divorced after only five years of marriage, and because his father was virtually bankrupt, Newsom and his sister had to work jobs after school and on weekends to help their mother who worked three low-paying jobs.

    Gonzalez led the "SF Chronicle" to believe that he came from an even more impoverished background, describing his simple brown father as selling cigarettes from the back of his car. That may have been true at one time, but he became a division chief for the international tobacco company Brown & Williamson in Gonzalez’ youth. They sent their son to Columbia. Newsom was only able to attend Santa Clara University on student loans and a partial baseball scholarship, where I'm not even certain he joined a fraternity.

    Like everyone, Newsom is not perfect, but it still enrages naïve Gonzalez supporters [who ignored not just the facts above but that Gonzalez was backed by two of the richest, most powerful men in the city's construction world] that their fake folk hero [he allegedly slept on wooden slants without a mattress; he gave his car away blah blah] was defeated by a self-made man, and, even more, that he has proved to be little of what they claimed, having gotten some 5,000 homeless people permanent shelter in the city, and another 1400 into permanent real housing, while improving social services, etc. He’s already extended the city-funded health insurance program for children to young adults, and is trying to implement free universal health care to all uninsured residents. After being elected, despite having been opposed by Labor during the campaign and receiving donations from Hostelry corporations, he personally joined a union picket line at one of 14 SF hotels, vowing that the city would boycott them until they agreed to contracts with workers. Yep, that's soooo Bushian.

    Those successes, those populist stands, and refusal to be the silver-spooned “frat boy” that he painted him has only served to deepen the vendetta that remains nakedly obvious in other SF politicos jealous of his still huge popularity ratings with voters [even most of those who voted against him] and the international press; in the articles by the arm-chair socialists at the “Bay Guardian;” and, most obviously, in the actions of Gonzalez’ strategist at the time, Ross Mirkarimi, who, despite their pledge of ethical government, was forced to take a leave of absence from his then city job in the wake of criticism that he was working to elect Gonzalez while on the public payroll. Gonzalez tucked tail and dropped out of politics entirely, but his smears of Newsom, despite all of the evidence to the contrary since he took office, survive in some quarters like crabgrass, and the Machiavellian Mirkarimi, now a supervisor, is obsessed with becoming mayor himself. That it would require beating Newsom only makes him more determined.

    As for “Jack, “ or should I say, “Jackass,” your suggestion that gay men voted en masse for Newsom is also a distortion of history. In the general election, many voted for the two GAY candidates for mayor; one of whom, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, endorsed Gonzalez in the runoff. More importantly, his huge approval ratings today among gays has less to do with his looks [and his ex wife’s assertion that he’s well hung unless there's such a thing as a Size Lesbian] than his consistent and broad support for gay rights—from his unprecedented and death-threat defying efforts to legalize gay marriage in SF, to continuing to publicly call out other Democrats—who blamed him in part for Kerry's lost—on their continuing cowardice regarding full marriage to hiring several gay staff members to participating in our Pride parades, something the gay-friendly Dianne Feinstein has yet to do as supervisor, mayor, and now Senator. Willing to look the other way on a homophobic bashing? Among others, I think there are 3,955 gay couples who might disagree. Fong’s appointment may have been a well-intentioned [Asian/Woman] if unwise appointment, but blind support for her and the police? Not from the mayor who forced out former “top cop” and good old boy Alex Fagan pere from his plush city job after he and Fagan fils were involved in a series of violence-related scandals. Not from the mayor who personally visits almost every SF murder scene, particularly those in the poorest section of the city, the mostly black Bayview Hunters Point area, both to comfort the victims’ families and to send the message to those police that he expects them to do their jobs and not write-off as less important the body count from gang and drug-related violence.

    Finally, Kevin/Tom, your comparison of Newsom with George Bush is both retarded and repulsive. Because of the lies of Gonzalez and others in 2003 [flyers portrayed Newsom him as a racist and Nazi], he was spit on, and worse, during the campaign. This is just the cyber version of that. Wipe your mouth.

    Posted by: Leland | Jan 11, 2007 9:15:33 PM


  14. I was just watching the news and they were talking about this, the thing is they didn’t mention any gay slurs and suggested they were attacked for singing the national anthem. No mention of it being a hate crime. What that about.

    Posted by: lee | Jan 12, 2007 12:57:18 AM


  15. Jeffrey, "The Gay Expat" (www.thegayexpat.com) and I discuss this issue at length on my latest Remarkably Mark Podcast:

    http://remarkablymark.blogspot.com/2007/01/remarkably-mark-44.html

    We talk about violence, homophobia, and the effect of privilege in the legal system.

    Feed: http://www.podshow.com/feeds/remarkablymark.xml

    Posted by: Chef Mark | Jan 12, 2007 3:56:27 PM


  16. There's an amazing follow-up to this story, Mayor Newsom is being interviewed by the SF ABC affiliate and he shows his incompetence big time!

    http://iteamblog.abc7news.com/2007/01/i_had_to_ask.html

    Basically he's blaming the press for spinning this story, and he's asking people to stop speculating before the investigation by the police is done..but he engages in a bit of his own ("There’s still a lot of questions I have. Why were these kids, they’re all underage, why were they in a home with a lot of liquor, how’d they get the liquor, what the heck were they doing down there, why is everyone hiring an attorney, who’s culpable, who’s not?"). IMPRESSIVE job, sherlock Holmes!

    And I won't mention the fact he walks out of the interview at the end like a movie star debutante because he's asked about an alledged drinking problem of his own..

    ---
    Lee I think the hate crime is being downplayed because the kids are assumed straight? so the gay-insults factor is being wiped out of the story. (the mayor does allude to it as "disgraceful and outrageous epithets that were apparently thrown out").

    Posted by: Da | Jan 12, 2007 4:00:15 PM


  17. "he shows his incompetence big time"??? Who the fuck are you to judge the competence of a dust bowl dogcatcher let alone the mayor of a major city? To all but the retarded, the kids he was talking about with liquor and hiring an attorney ARE THE ATTACKERS! He's not criticizing the victims, shit for brains!

    As predictable as cockroaches after a nuclear war, professional haters develop for every public figure, including the greatest, most pro-gay mayor in the country.
    Save your vacuous venom for those who deserve it, say like, oh, I don't know--George Bush, John McCain, Arnold, Donald Trump, Jim Belushi ad infinitum.

    Posted by: Leland | Jan 12, 2007 11:15:40 PM


  18. Chill maybe? I wasn't talking about you but the mayor, and it's called an opinion.

    And you label me a "professional hater" without knowing me, but have you read your own posts? always attacking your fellow gay man on this site or in the media (Nate Berkus, Reichen, Lance etc etc)..I don't think I have any lessons to take from you in that department.

    Ok back to the topic: I was merely noting the irony of the mayor asking people not to speculate, while he goes on about the kids drinking and hiring lawyers. And he hardly precises which amongst the bunch..And he does walk out of the interview showing inability to handle the heat at this particular moment of crisis. That's all..

    Posted by: Da | Jan 13, 2007 2:25:21 AM


  19. On Hannity and Colmes, Hannity has been offering 10 grand to anyone who can come forward with info. to break the case. Hannity seems to think it had something with the men singing "The Star Bangled Banner" (which wouldn't surprise me in anti-American San Francisco) but he asked if it was an anti-gay hate crime and...the answer seemed to be unsure. It's an odd and mysterious case.

    Posted by: Joe T. | Jan 13, 2007 6:11:37 AM


  20. "...anti-American San Francisco..."?

    Joe T. are you serious?

    I hope not. That is one really stupid, or at the very least ignorant, statement.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jan 16, 2007 11:28:13 PM


  21. Buncha East Coast yuppies got their ass kicked. That's about it. They cried to mum and dad, who hired lawyers.

    Better to take it on the chin and move on.

    Posted by: Fried | Jan 16, 2009 3:16:34 PM


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