It didn't seem to matter to Hallinan that his top assistant, Dick Iglehart, knew Grigg hadn't been told of the raid. It didn't matter that the head of the gang unit, George Butterworth, also knew Grigg was out of the loop. It didn't matter that Mazzucco was just doing his job.

When false claims of racism stir the mud in an already muddy mind, the Tippy Mazzuccos of the world often get hurt.

And just so you don't accord credence to the claims that Mazzucco is racist, know this: Three top-ranking police officials who were involved in the raid and who have worked closely with Mazzucco for years -- Lt. Kitt Crenshaw, the head of SFPD narcotics; Deputy Chief Rich Holder, the head of special operations; and Earl Saunders, the assistant chief of police -- all called Hallinan to argue on Tippy's behalf.

All three of these men also happen to be African-American.

Shortly after Mazzucco was demoted, Mayor Brown appointed Vernon Grigg a housing commissioner.

And this is the way politics works in the time of Willie Brown and Terence Hallinan. If you are ambitious and willing to feed your ambitions into politically correct channels, you win.

If you keep your head down, do the right thing, and try to clean some of the drugs and violence and chaos out of the lives of the honest folks who live in the projects, you get royally and unceremoniously screwed.

What I've just told you is not the worst of this tale. The unjust screwing of one prosecutor is bad. But the people in the projects -- a constituency Hallinan has long said he represents -- may also get a good screwing as a result of our district attorney's PC foolishness.

Dan Pifer, the head of the criminal unit of the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says he's so thoroughly pissed at Hallinan for demoting Mazzucco that he is seriously considering pulling federal funding from the housing deputy post that Mazzucco had filled.

"Mazzucco has done an outstanding job working with us," he says. "The operations he has worked on with us have all been extremely successful because of his dedication, his direction, and his outstanding prosecutorial experience."

Apparently, that doesn't matter to our district attorney.
As one high-ranking SFPD official said, "Tippy's main problem is that he is an aggressive prosecutor. He's a cop's prosecutor and a prosecutor's prosecutor. And he's in the middle of a liberal law enforcement fishbowl. It's not a problem with Tippy, it's a problem with politics and political agendas run amok."

George Cothran ( can be reached at SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco,

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