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Police Chief Under Fire For Terrorism Comments

Police Chief Under Fire For Terrorism Comments

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San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix

March 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon today apologized for remarks he made Thursday on the threat of terrorism that drew criticism from members of the city’s Middle Eastern community.

Gascon spoke at a breakfast at San Francisco’s Ferry Building before construction and trade groups, at which he discussed a $412 million June 8 bond measure to build a new police headquarters and implement other seismic upgrades citywide.

According to Gascon, he also discussed possible terrorist threats to the headquarters at the Hall of Justice as another reason to support the measure. He said he mentioned domestic terrorism but also the threat of international terrorism from Yemen and Afghanistan, and also noted significant populations from those countries residing in the Bay Area.

Today, his office issued a statement apologizing “to those in the Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim communities who were offended by his comments yesterday.”

“Chief Gascon did not intend to upset the community and he is mindful of the importance of cultural sensitivity, not only here in San Francisco, but nationally,” the statement read.

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American Islamic Relations said today that it, along with other local Arab and Muslim groups, sent a letter to Gascon in which they expressed disappointment.

The organization said they have asked the police chief to meet with leaders from the Arab and Muslim community in San Francisco to talk about possible negative impacts of his comments.

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