Due to some technical issues we had during the interview, it might be easier to listen to this while wearing headphones. Our apologies!
Our interview with the new San Francisco Police Department Chief George Gascon is a great example of why we wanted to create this show.
We’ve all heard what a tough guy this former LAPD deputy chief is and how he’s fixed broken departments and an entire city police force in Mesa, AZ. But hearing, from his mouth, about growing up in the dark shadow of Fidel Castro, or about watching his entire family get strip searched by the secret police, or about his uncle, who was sent to a Cuban concentration camp for two decades, helps us see the man behind the badge.
In his country of origin, a policeman stood for corruption and evil, for execution and oppression. Even Gascon’s father was arrested more than once, saved only by his knowledge of engineering — no one but Gascon’s father knew how to operate a particular machine at the factory where he worked, so the police were forced to release him.
While the Chief was a good student in Cuba, he dropped out of American high school in his senior year to go surfing! Part of the reason he didn’t do well in American schools is because there was no ESL program at the time, and teachers thought he was not smart enough to go to college. Gascon went on to law school.
In San Francisco only for about 100 days, Gascon has yet to make any significant changes in crime or the SFPD’s community impact. Some recent moves have caused an outcry against him and the SFPD, while others have left people hopeful about the future of the SFPD. Watch the interview, and tell us what you think.