Michael Connolly
Broadmoor Police Chief Michael Connolly shakes hands with a meeting attendee after announcing his resignation on June 8, 2021. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

Former Broadmoor police chief and SFPD deputy chief Michael Connolly, who faced conflict-of-interest charges for illegally installing himself as police chief in 2019, reached a plea bargain today and was sentenced this afternoon during a pretrial conference in South San Francisco. 

Connolly will serve one year of probation, pay a $235 fine, and is prohibited from holding an elected office or acting as a lobbyist for four years, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who brought the charges against Connolly in late June. The probation period is the maximum amount permitted, Wagstaffe said.  

Shortly after the three misdemeanor charges were announced, Connolly originally pleaded not guilty to all of them: Two counts that he became financially interested in a contract he was involved in making, and the third that he attempted to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he had a financial interest. 

As part of today’s plea bargain, Connolly entered a “no contest” plea for the third count, and the first two counts were dropped. His attorney, Stephen Sutro, did not immediately return a request for comment. 

“It’s a just outcome,” Wagstaffe told Mission Local. “I’m sorry that any law enforcement breached their duty, even though we know this one was not intentionally done. But we have very strict laws in California about conflict of interest, and he violated them … People often say police aren’t held accountable — and, in this case, a police chief was held accountable.” 

Connolly retired from the SFPD after 29 years in 2019, where he served as the head of the “Principled Policing Bureau.” Before leaving the SFPD, he began serving on the police commission in Broadmoor, a small, unincorporated town in the middle of Daly City. 

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While sitting on the Broadmoor Police Commission, Connolly allegedly expressed his interest in becoming the police chief there, presided over the meeting in which he was voted in, then also voted on a future budget that determined his salary as future chief. 

Shortly before the charges were officially brought against him in June, Connolly resigned as police chief before the police commission, which expressed their unhappiness with his departure.  

Connolly was also accused of retaliating against whistleblowers in the police department while serving as Broadmoor’s police chief, showing favoritism to colleagues he hired from his SFPD days, and using department funds for his and his allies’ personal use. The whistleblower complaint filed in Aug. 2020 is what originally brought Connolly’s conflicts of interest to the district attorney’s attention. 

Since his resignation, Connolly’s former second-in-command – and also formerly with the SFPD – Patrick Tobin has been serving as Interim Chief of Police. Tobin also has a problematic history, though he hasn’t faced criminal charges: He has been disciplined in the past for violence against youth, and was also accused of harassing a gay SFPD officer for his sexuality.

Eleni Balakrishnan

Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim over eight years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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7 Comments

  1. Unfortunately this will continue to happen again and again until the Broadmoor Police Protection District is disbanded. The Police Commission provides zero oversight and so the department, its chief and officers, act with impunity. Its most recent minutes show that the department is basically uninsurable at this point.

  2. What a joke this is! Wagstaff punished someone else for the same crimes to the full extent! You mean to tell me that Connolly didn’t plan this thing out? I don’t think so, he knew what he was doing and got caught now this DA is covering up for him and slapping him on the wrist! The good old boy club is still here. We need to get all of these pieces of scum out of office!

  3. I don’t have a dog in this conflict because I don’t live in the City anymore, or even in the state, but I agree with Tom. IMO, a “just outcome” would be a more stringent consequence for years of breaking the law.

  4. “It’s a just outcome,” DA Wagstaffe told Mission Local. “I’m sorry that any law enforcement breached their duty, even though we know this one was not intentionally done.”
    What? The DA is actually saying Connolly didn’t do all this stuff intentionally?! Like, whoopsie?

  5. Sorry I’m on the way to the bank! Normal cover ups in Police, Greg Suhr $20,000 a month for life!

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