The Bus Stop Saloon, in San Francisco, has pool tables, a pair of video-golf machines, more than half a dozen televisions, and free popcorn. It also has a prime corner location on Union Street, where its awning boasts of a “place where friendships are formed to last a lifetime.” The Bus Stop hardly has the look of a city landmark, like the Golden Gate Bridge or the City Lights Bookstore. Yet, over the past several months, the cheerful bar has become just that. It has entered local lore as the focal point of a peculiar law-enforcement scandal, one that has, in varying degrees, engulfed the city’s mayor, Willie Brown, its police chief, and its district attorney. Even by the baroque standards of San Francisco, the scandal has from the start laid oddity upon oddity.
On the night of November 19, 2002, about a hundred police officers gathered at the House of Prime Rib, on the fringes of downtown, to celebrate the promotion of Alex Fagan, Sr., to assistant chief of the department. After the dinner, which ended aro