S.F. Chief Retires; Ruled Innocent in Fajita Case

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San Francisco Police Chief Earl Sanders will retire next month after a 39-year career in which he helped force integration on the Police Department, became the city’s first black chief and was briefly indicted in connection with a brawl involving off-duty officers, the San Francisco Chronicle says.

Mayor Willie Brown said he would name Assistant Chief Alex Fagan to be chief. Fagan has been acting chief since Sanders, 65, went on medical leave in March. Sanders ended months of speculation about whether he would return from the leave he took after he was charged with conspiring to block the investigation into the brawl involving off-duty officers. Last week, he was declared “factually innocent” of conspiring to block the investigation into whether three officers, including Fagan’s son, had assaulted two civilians on Union Street early Nov. 20. The case was dubbed “fajitagate” by some because it involved a fight over a bag of steak fajitas.

Sanders’ attorney, Phil Ryan, said he had suffered a minor stroke after the Feb. 27 indictment. “The job is not worth his life,” Ryan said. “He has given his life to this Police Department and this city. The small-minded punks in government today, it’s not worth one hour off of Earl Sanders’ life.” Sanders is eligible for a pension equaling 90 percent of his chief’s salary, which will amount to $188,718 a year.

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/08/12/MN248878.DTL

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