Intimidation accusation rocks SFPD advisory panel 

click to enlarge Supervisor Eric Mar says he never felt intimidated by a member of the Richmond Police Community Advisory Board who was dismissed from the volunteer position. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Supervisor Eric Mar says he never felt intimidated by a member of the Richmond Police Community Advisory Board who was dismissed from the volunteer position.

Five volunteer members of the Richmond Community Police Advisory Board resigned in the past week over another member being removed for possibly intimidating a city supervisor.

The board has been proactive in addressing noise and safety issues involving businesses in the normally quiet neighborhood. But one member, Chris Rillo, apparently was too vocal.

In a letter sent to police Chief Greg Suhr recently, the five resigning members called for an investigation into Rillo’s dismissal.

“We are extremely surprised,” the letter stated. “Mr. Rillo and his wife are both long-term residents and homeowners in the Richmond district who have worked hard advocating for the safety of our neighborhood.”

The advisory board — which was made up of nine members until recently — questioned Richmond Police Station Capt. Eric Vintero’s reason for the dismissal. They were told Rillo was removed for “belligerence” and cited an incident in January in which his conduct appeared to “intimidate” Supervisor Eric Mar.

Police did not respond to requests for comment.

Rillo said he was “startled” by the dismissal.

“When the captain called to tell me he was relieving me from the board, I asked whether it was for a cause,” Rillo said. “He simply stated he had the right to constitute members of the board and assured me there was no cause. I was startled when he reported a cause that night, that I supposedly intimated Supervisor Mar.”

Mar told The San Francisco Examiner he was not involved in Vintero’s decision and at no point during his interaction with advisory board members has he felt intimidated.

“It’s puzzling to me why anyone would make that claim,” Mar said. “I did not influence the captain’s decision and I leave that up to the police station to appoint members. I’ve never been intimidated by anyone in those meetings.”

Advisory boards were created in 2009 under then-police Chief George Gascón. They are tasked with improving safety in neighborhoods.

The Richmond board has been particularly active recently. Last month, it attempted to limit the late-night operating hours of a Jack in the Box restaurant at 11th Avenue and Geary Boulevard. The restaurant is now closed between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The group also brought forth concerns regarding violence and noise at the RockIt Room on Clement Street. The Entertainment Commission recently issued 17 restrictions on the business.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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