SF Police investigate deputy's actions

January 23, 2008 7:21:46 PM PST
San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong has ordered an investigation into a possible domestic abuse incident involving a Deputy Chief's rookie son.

23-year-old rookie officer James Tacchini is the son of newly promoted Deputy Chief Stephen Tacchini. The father declined our request for an interview at a police event today in Chinatown, saying it was inappropriate to talk about the incident.

Early Sunday morning, police went to an apartment on the 300 block of King Street to investigate a 911 domestic violence call.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a male friend of the woman made the 911 call, saying she had called him and that she was hysterical and felt threatened by Tacchini, who she said had at one point pushed her.

He told police the two had been drinking at a nightclub but went back to her apartment after an argument. Tacchini reportedly denied physically abusing the woman during an interview with a police sergeant at the apartment. The woman also told police the same thing.

The Chronicle reports that a lieutenant, after being briefed at the scene, called Deputy Chief Tacchini and a police report was never filed. Police Chief Heather Fong found out about the incident Monday through an internal memo and has ordered an investigation.

The purpose of the investigation is to review not only the actions of officer Tacchini, but also the actions of the officers who responded to the scene.

When asked whether or not a report should have been filed, Fong responded by saying "I can't respond to that because I was not at the scene."

However, a police source tells ABC7 that a police report should have been written and that Deputy Chief Tacchini should have told Fong immediately that his son was involved in a police investigation.

"There will be no cover up and the facts will be presented not only to the commission, but to the people of San Francisco," says Police Commissioner Yvonne Lee.

Tthe handling of the case appears similar to the 2002 'fajita-gate' scandal, in which the son of Assistant Police Chief Alex Fagan was accused of beating up two people.

"I would hope that the government learns from its mistakes, but am i surprised that it doesn't," says Eric Safire, defense attorney.

Attorney Eric Safire represented one of the two reported beating victims. He says it smacks of a cover up.

"The lack of accountability for police officers, they think they can get away with anything whether it's on duty or off duty."

Chief Fong says there are procedures to handle situations like this, but declined to elaborate.