San Jose city manager: Police chief violated gift policy

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose's city manager confirmed what ABC7 News first reported last month - members of the police department's command staff have violated the department's gift policy. Among them is San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel. He accepted free tickets from the San Francisco 49ers, even while his department was investigating cases involving its players.

The bottom line is if a beat cop can't even get a free cup of coffee without violating the gift policy of the duty manual, why should the top brass get free 49ers tickets to see a game?

The city manager drafted and sent a memo on Thursday to the mayor and city council members. It says that the city manager and the city attorney will begin reviewing the gift policy of the city to make sure that everybody understands it.

Last month, ABC7 News reported that two top command officers received free 49er tickets, apparently in violation of the police gift policy.

Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia attended two events. We saw him in a picture on the sidelines, at a game in Candlestick Park last year. The second was a game this August at Levi's stadium between the 49ers and San Diego Chargers.

Deputy Chief Jeff Marozik was also invited to the same game. But under the police duty manual, officers cannot accept any gift at all, sports tickets included.

The department told us, the chiefs reimbursed the 49ers for the tickets so there was no violation of the gift policy. We found out later that the two chiefs sent their checks only after ABC7 News began inquiring about the tickets.

Now it turns out, Chief of Police Larry Esquivel also got free tickets to a 49er game. The department did not return our calls, but sources tell us he also reimbursed the 49ers after we asked about the tickets.

We learned this week that the city manager met with the three chiefs. City of San Jose spokesperson David Vossbrink spoke with ABC7 News.

Lee: "So was it the conclusion of your office that there was a breach of violation?"
Vossbrink: "Yeah. There was an error made and that even though the individuals involved had reimbursed the costs of the tickets, the policy says it should not have happened."

Regardless, others want an independent investigation.

Pastor Jethrow Moore is a member of the San Jose Police Community Advisory Board. He wrote a letter, asking the state attorney general to investigate.

"What's the policy of taking gifts? When an officer does that, what type of reprimand would be done or correction would be done?" Rev. Moore.

In the meantime, the city manager has ordered a review of the gift policies of the city and police department.
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