This morning, former SFPD deputy chief Michael Connolly pleaded not guilty to all charges alleging that he illegally engineered his own election as Broadmoor police chief while also serving as chairman of the Broadmoor police commission.
Last week, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s office filed three misdemeanor charges against Connolly, who took over in 2019 as police chief of Broadmoor, a small, unincorporated town in the middle of Daly City.
Connolly was a 29-year veteran with the San Francisco Police Department who was also sitting on the Broadmoor Police Commission when he expressed his interest in becoming the police chief there. He subsequently voted on an upcoming budget that directly impacted his own future salary.
Earlier this month, Connolly tearfully stepped down as chief while under investigation by the San Mateo County DA’s office. Another member of the police department filed a whistleblower complaint against Connolly late last year, prompting the DA’s investigation.
According to the charging documents, Connolly violated conflict of interest statutes in the process, by becoming “financially interested in a contract” made by a body of which he was a member, and “unlawfully… [using] his official position to influence a governmental decision” in which he had a financial interest.
Although Connolly was not required to appear for the court date, his attorney submitted the pleas on his behalf in a process that lasted only a few minutes, Wagstaffe told Mission Local on Thursday. Connolly also waived his right to a speedy trial and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 2 for a pretrial conference and to set a trial date.
Between now and August, Connolly’s attorney Stephen Sutro and San Mateo County prosecutors will meet and “see if there’s a meeting of the minds,” Wagstaffe said, regarding the possibility of reaching a settlement before the trial. Sutro has not responded to Mission Local’s requests for comment.
In addition to the criminal misdemeanor charges he faces, Connolly has also been accused of retaliating against whistleblowers in his department, showing favoritism to colleagues he hired from his SFPD days, and making extravagant purchases on the public dime like a new car for personal off-duty use. When he was with the SFPD, he served as the head of the “Principled Policing Bureau.”