Facing allegations that he illegally took over as police chief of the Broadmoor police department, former longtime San Francisco cop Michael Connolly broke into tears tonight as he announced his resignation in front of the Broadmoor Police Commission.
“There are decisions that all chiefs make that we wish we could go back and change,” Connolly said, after reading a quote from the International Association of Chiefs of Police about integrity and ethical standards.
“So I want to say, I apologize to you as a commission, to the community, and to the department. We all make mistakes. And sometimes you have to pay for those mistakes.”
The former SFPD officer, who became chief of the Broadmoor police department in 2019, did not elaborate on what those mistakes were, but asserted that any decisions he made “have all been in the interest of this community, and this department.”
His second-in-command, Commander Patrick Tobin, also a former member of the SFPD who Connolly hired in 2017, was sworn in as interim chief.
Tobin has a history of misconduct for which he was disciplined during his time with SFPD.
Although the three police commissioners of the small San Mateo County force officially accepted Connolly’s resignation, it was clear the change was not a welcome one.
“I think we had a big loss here, a big loss over an unintentional mistake … and I don’t like it,” said Commissioner Ralph Hutchens. Commissioner Marie Brizuela wiped away tears with a tissue.
Mission Local broke the story in April that Connolly had been accused of illegally placing himself at the head of the small department, where several officers allege he converted it into his personal fiefdom and ATM.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told Mission Local Tuesday that Connolly’s resignation is not “connected to or part of some resolution” with the DA’s office.
Wagstaffe has been investigating allegations that Connolly improperly presided over police commission meetings during which the commission selected him as Broadmoor police chief and determined his salary.
“We’ve completed our investigation, we’ve had a discussion on it, and I believe we’ll be ready to make an announcement. We’re thinking next week,” Wagstaffe said. The announcement will include whether any charges against Connolly will be filed.
Wagstaffe said the charges his team has been discussing involve conflict of interest statutes, which prohibit officials at different levels of government from being “financially interested in any contract made” by them or by a body or board of which they are members.
Connolly spent 29 years with the SFPD, and joined the police commission of Broadmoor, in San Mateo County, while still working in San Francisco.
Eventually he became the chairman of the Broadmoor Police Commission, and in March, 2019, he presided over a meeting in which he was elected as Broadmoor’s police chief. At a later meeting, he voted on his own future salary and a tax increase for citizens of Broadmoor — which would fund his future department.
With his new position and salary secured, Connolly left the SFPD in May, 2019, and took over at the Broadmoor Police Department that June.
Broadmoor sits as a municipal island in the middle of Daly City, and is part of unincorporated San Mateo County.
Tobin, the new interim chief, also has a history of abuses and has been disciplined in the past for violence against youth. Currently, he’s ensnared in an ongoing lawsuit for allegedly harassing a gay SFPD officer for his sexuality.