Attorney's 'Leather' Reference Upsets Gay San Francisco Cop

  • by Seth Hemmelgarn
  • Saturday September 3, 2016
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A gay San Francisco policeman is complaining that a gay public defender told a judge that he was a "leather daddy."

Inspector Len Broberg, who was International Mr. Leather in 1992, and as a longtime member of the police department's Gang Task Force often testifies as an expert on gangs, said that Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman recently told retired Judge Philip Moscone "that I lied on the stand, that I'm a racist, and that the only gang I could be an expert on is the leather daddy gang."

Pearlman is representing Danny Luckett who, along with a co-defendant, has been ordered to stand trial on charges including second-degree auto burglary and gang participation.

Broberg said Assistant District Attorney Nathan Quigley told him of Pearlman's statement after a pretrial conference with Pearlman in Moscone's chambers.

Quigley relayed the statement to him "because [Quigley] had to notify his supervisor, then it had to go up the chain of command at the DA's office," he said.

Broberg suspects Pearlman was trying to leave the judge with a negative impression of him with the "leather daddy" comment, and he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity unit at the city's Department of Human Resources a couple weeks ago.

Monday, he said the agency notified him "that the allegations weren't enough for a sustained complaint of the harassment or hostile work environment," but "they believe there was a potential violation of the city's discrimination, harassment, and retaliation-free workplace policy," and the matter's been referred to the public defender's office.

In an emailed statement, Pearlman said, "There is a reason the city declined to investigate Inspector Broberg's complaint against me - it is patently ridiculous on its face. I'm a proud gay man with nothing but love and respect for the leather community. What I do not respect, however, is the abuse of power by those sworn to protect our city."

Pearlman added that he believes "Inspector Broberg has rushed to judgment in branding young men of color as 'gang members' with little to no evidence. I felt it was my duty to bring up the defense community's concern about Inspector Broberg's true expertise and the veracity of his testimony in court. Knowing that Inspector Broberg is a longtime and visible member of the leather community, I suggested in chambers that this was the only community about which he had sufficient expertise to opine. I stand by that assessment."

Pearlman also mentioned a recording made public earlier this year in which Broberg referred to Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young as a "bitch" and used terms like "ugly fucker" and "fat ... jackass" to describe criminal suspects.

"His sudden embrace of the city's anti-discrimination policies is encouraging," Pearlman said.

Referring to Luckett's case, Broberg said, "If I lied on the stand, how come there has not been an investigation into that, and why am I not on the Brady list?" (Among other provisions, Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision, resulted in prosecutors being required to inform defense attorneys and their clients about potential problems with police officers' credibility.)

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the DA's office, declined to comment for this story, as did Luckett, Pearlman's client.

Susan Gard, policy chief at the Department of Human Resources, said she couldn't confirm or deny the existence of specific EEO cases, but she said, "All claims are taken very seriously."

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