Lionel Sevilla, Cop Accused in Cover-Up, Suspended

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Good news, boys! Sevilla's keepin' his job!
The Chronicle is reporting that Lionel Sevilla, a veteran cop accused of instructing a young police officer to lie about a prisoner's escape, will be suspended -- seven years after the alleged incident.

SF Weekly's search of the city's most recent payroll reveals Sevilla took home $108,959.57 in fiscal 2009-10. And, following his nine-month suspension, he figures to become a very highly paid desk jockey.

Sevilla's case gets to the heart of two of Chief George Gascon's most vehement frustrations with the department he inherited.

First of all, Sevilla took home upwards of half a million dollars in the years since he allegedly released a prisoner from his cuffs so the man could use the john -- but instead fled -- and then purportedly covered up the misstep. Sevilla's case moved at a snail's pace -- slow even by the glacial standards of the Police Commission Gascon has complained about. The chief had advocated Sevilla's firing; instead he'll be back in uniform next year. 

Second, the 19-year officer will join a growing "Brady list" of 50 or more officers essentially unable to do on-the-street police work because troubling incidents in their past could cloud their effectiveness on the witness stand. This list -- named after the Brady v. Maryland case requiring prosecutors to turn over to defense attorneys any information pertaining to witness' credibility -- became a hot issue earlier this year. A judge slammed District Attorney Kamala Harris for having no policy in place to turn over police employees' backgrounds. 

This was a "told you so" moment for Gascon -- who'd complained to Harris' office about this problem last year.

The chief may be stuck with Sevilla longer than he is with Harris -- whom he endorsed for Attorney General. His next complaint may be that his $109,000-a-year desk jockey makes a bad cup of coffee.

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