Salisbury, Lois: Police reflecting the city


Lois Salisbury: Knowing that this would be ultimately a trial that would be hard-fought, deeply controversial, painful, and certainly destructive in its own way because it was going to dredge up a lot of past events that one could imagine many would not want to relive. George Moscone wanted to see an outcome that was more constructively achieved and convened the parties around the table of the mayor’s office. There began a process that I was privileged to participate in, and I was a young lawyer. You could just imagine the thrill for me. This was my second year out of law school at this point and we are being convened by the Mayor of San Francisco – who wants to achieve a positive, constructive outcome, who is using his office, his knowledge of the city, his knowledge of civil rights law, his knowledge of the parties – to try to achieve a constructive agreed upon result. We were with George countless times frequently in the fall of ‘77 and into early ’78, and ultimately with a tremendous amount of pressure from George, resolved a written document that would have been mutually agreed upon settlement of the case involving all of the parties. So the Civil Service Commission, the Police Commission, the Department of Justice, the Police Officers Association, and all of my civil rights clients including the Officers for Justice. It was a very strong settlement on behalf of the plaintiffs because George Moscone believed in this change. He knew San Francisco was a different city, and needed a different police department. It was not well-served to have a police department that did not reflect the citizens of our town. That we needed to leap forward, and that it was time to really turn over a new page. He put his muscle and his brain and his heart behind these negotiations, and I wish I had my calendars, but I don’t any longer or else I would have reconstructed for you how many times we came around his office. And it was in every combination. It was all of us and sometimes it would just be some of us. It was classic negotiations where he used his good offices and his energy and his sense of the body politic and the law and what was right to achieve a very, very strong settlement.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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