Ex-Lieutenant Says SFPD Unfairly Forced Him Out

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, December 8, 2010

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Jerry Lankford, 54, [a former San Francisco police lieutenant] says he was forced to retire after being wrongly accused of being unprofessional when he rapped his badge against a Starbucks window while the coffee store was closed.

The 30-year department veteran said he was unfairly placed on unpaid administrative leave in February and had no choice but to retire after being accused of “conduct unbecoming an officer” at the coffee shop in the West Portal neighborhood.

While on his way to work, Lankford, dressed in street clothes and a hoodie, began knocking on the door of the closed store, sources have said. When the clerk ignored him, Lankford allegedly pulled out his badge and began rapping it against the glass.

Returning in uniform

Lankford left but then returned in uniform and angrily accused store employees of refusing to serve him earlier because he is black, sources said. Someone reported the incident, and Lankford was placed on leave and ordered to turn in his gun and badge.

In a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Lankford said he had been pushed off the force because of “false, meritless and unfounded accusations of performance issues.”

The allegations, he said, were in retaliation for his decision to testify against other officers and for complaining about racial discrimination in the department. {snip}

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Subject of complaints

Lankford is no stranger to controversy.

In 1982, he was suspended for two months after Oakland police said he tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer, though no criminal charges were filed.

In 2003, while off-duty, Lankford was accused of abducting a woman off a Tenderloin street. {snip}

In 2006, after department accusations that he had frequented red-light districts, the Police Commission ruled that Lankford was guilty of three charges related to his having driven through San Francisco and the East Bay with his license plate covered. {snip}

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