Four months after the San Diego Police Department’s largest scandal in a decade, the City Council hasn’t held a meeting to publicly question the police chief about the allegations or the department’s response.
At the peak of public scrutiny in May, the scandal involved 11 police officers accused of various offenses, the most serious including felony drunken driving, on-duty sexual assault and on-duty rape. Prosecutors charged five officers in court.
Police Chief Bill Lansdowne called the series of criminal allegations unprecedented and said they would tarnish the city’s reputation with the community for year to come. Council members pledged their support of police but also promised to question them at a hearing about the misconduct allegations and the department’s response.
But to date, that meeting still hasn’t happened.
Marti Emerald, chairwoman of the council’s public safety committee, first proposed a public hearing about the scandal in July but then delayed the meeting until September because of a scheduling conflict with Lansdowne.
Now the meeting’s been delayed again.
This time, the Police Department committed to attending the hearing but two members of the public safety committee — David Alvarez and Lorie Zapf — scheduled a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C. Without them, there weren’t enough committee members to hold a meeting. Emerald rescheduled it for Oct. 12. By then, five months will have passed since the scandal’s peak.
We’ve written extensively about the misconduct scandal. For a quick background, check out this handy summary by my editor, Andrew Donohue, or watch the San Diego Explained video below. You might also be interested in reading how an institutional shift at the department gave more latitude for misconduct to occur and an overview of the police chief’s history of dealing with controversy.
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