Officer speaks to reporters, alleging racism and harassment in the SFPD. Photos and televised broadcasts from April 10, like this one, did not show the officer's face.

The Afghani-born San Francisco police officer who last month claimed to be the victim of anti-Muslim racism and harassment is the same man who, in 2013, was deemed a “CIA Agent Impersonator” by the Napa Police Department, Mission Local has confirmed.

The man “met a female on a dating website,” begins the bulletin. “He used the name Danny Costello. … [He] told the female he was a high-level CIA Agent. [He] claims to have been involved in the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the investigation of Gen. David Petreus. (sic) [He] convinced the female and her family that he is in the highest levels of the CIA. [He] may have Middle Eastern ties. [He] has applied to be a police officer at San Francisco PD, West Sacramento PD, and Santa Cruz SO. This information is provided for agencies who may have similar incidents.”

This, to put it mildly, brings up a credibility issue.

Mission Local’s calls to the Police Officers Association have not yet been answered. But, following the officer’s April 10 press conference alongside Public Defender Jeff Adachi, a POA rep e-mailed the workforce, forwarding along a press release from the public defender’s office with his own preface: “Lies, ladies and gentlemen.”

Prior to that press conference, Adachi and the officer requested to a roomful of journalists that they not identify the officer by name or photograph or film his face — resulting in many shots of the uniformed policeman’s hands and body as he read a prepared statement.

“The officer will not be identified today and we will ask you not to identify him by name or by face,” Adachi told the gathered media. “The reason why is that he is currently serving as a police officer and he is terrified.”

Adachi and the officer then went on to outline a number of alleged serious incidents of anti-Muslim racism directed at the officer, as well as more general racist behavior purportedly committed in the officer’s presence.

Adachi told Mission Local today that he could not comment on the 2013 allegations about the officer, as the officer is now represented by private counsel.

That attorney, Lateef Gray of the John Burris law firm, said his client denies the 2013 allegations. “He denies that this happened. He denies impersonating a CIA agent and denies using a fake name. My client denies what is on that bulletin happened.”

Gray’s client was previously a member of the Oakland Police Department before becoming a cop in San Francisco. Gray said he could not disclose why his client separated from the OPD, as that was the matter of an ongoing investigation. The officer, per Gray, has been a member of the SFPD for “almost a year,” and is still a cop “but not on patrol.”

When asked if the Oakland or San Francisco Police Departments knew of the Napa allegations before hiring his client, Gray said, “That, I don’t know. But I can say he did pass a lie-detector test and background check for his job requirements with the SFPD.”

Veteran SFPD cops, however, said it wouldn’t surprise them if these 2013 allegations were never part of the officer’s vetting process. “Sloppy, sloppy,” said one. “Everything here is sloppy.”

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Gary Delagnes, the longtime president of the POA and now a consultant, said he never bought the officer’s accusations. “I doubt very much he is being completely truthful about what happened at Central Station,” he said. “Cops might have joked with him, but, certainly with the current climate of our police department, there’s no way they’d be dumb enough to keep doing this if they found out he didn’t appreciate it.”

Delagnes had been unaware of the 2013 accusations.

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Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. Isn’t he also violating a policy by wearing his uniform while no at work. I can only assume He was on the clock when he gave the press conference.

  2. Hey, it’s all true. The guy was with us when we killed Bin Laden (who’s actually alive, living on the Lost Coast). But that aside, what does any of this have to do with anti-Muslim racism in the SFPD? This sounds a bit like kill the messenger, only not a very efficient hit job. So he tries to pick up a woman on dating site in 2013 using the old CIA line. Why should this discredit his allegations? Is he now to be considered a Russian agent spreading disinformation online? Oh, and thanks for the comment by Gary Delagnes at the end. That certainly clarifies everything. Indeed! Who can imagine any racist behavior in the SFPD in the “current climate” — the climate of Sessions, Trump and a resurgent POA. Who?

    1. Mark —

      The allegations of racism within the SFPD are certainly plausible. Whether or not these particular allegations are true does not absolve the department of racism. With that said, however, if this accuser has a history of fabulism, that matters. What also matters is why he left/was dismissed from the Oakland Police Department, which his attorney says is a matter now under investigation. And it also matters if both OPD and SFPD asked about past behavior during background checks.


  3. I left the SFPD in 1997, great department, great guys and gals! We didn’t have any of that racism crap while I was a cop. I worked with the best. Thank you SFPD Danny Maginniss

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