At first blush, Gurbkash Chahal and the San Francisco Police Officers Association would seem to have little in common.
Chahal, 33, is the self-described serial entrepreneur who sold two advertising companies before he turned 25, netting hundreds of millions — but he's best-known for a 2014 domestic violence conviction. The POA is the bargaining unit for the city's police officers — the same cops who, according to the judge in Chahal's DV case, unlawfully seized video evidence from Chahal's Rincon Hill apartment that showed him hitting his then-partner 117 times.
The video was ruled inadmissible, thereby seriously fucking up District Attorney George Gascón's case. Charged with 47 felonies, Chahal ended up pleading guilty to two misdemeanor battery counts and was sentenced to three years' probation.
But Chahal and the POA do have one thing in common: They absolutely loathe Gascón. Last month, in response to an investigation he led into racial bias in the SFPD, the POA released sworn declarations accusing Gascón of uttering racist remarks during a wine-fueled dinner back in 2011. A few weeks later, a Facebook page called “George Gascon is a Racist” appeared.
Conveniently, Chahal — who squares off against Gascón's prosecutors on April 22, for allegedly hitting women while on probation for hitting women, and could face jail time — has also begun accusing Gascón of racism, and is exhorting followers to sign a Change.org petition calling for Gascón's job, and to call Gascón's office and complain.
All of this is — conveniently — exactly what the anti-Gascón camp is doing.
Via a Facebook message, Chahal declined to comment. Also reached via Facebook, the anti-Gascón page denied any involvement with Chahal — but was sure to praise him and his efforts as a kindred spirit.
“Our leaks and sources are from the inside of the San Francisco DA's office,” the page's moderator(s) wrote. “Whatever issue Chalal [sic] is separate from ours, but we did look at his page and am [sic] glad others are now joining the effort.”
Gascón's people declined to comment. Meanwhile, the still-anonymous page operators are doubling down: They've offered $10,000 to anyone who might come forward with dirt on Gascón's past, be it from his decades at LAPD or his pre-SF stint running the police department of Mesa, Ariz.
There aren't too many community groups with that kind of money lying around — let alone the resources necessary to assemble a massive online following of over 100,000 Facebook accounts simply to harangue a local politician — but a guy like Chahal, with figures in his bank account to spare, has both the money and the motive.
“He has a real stick up his ass,” says Sam Singer, the disaster PR consultant formerly hired by Chahal to clean up some of the mess. (They have since parted ways). “He wants to blame the D.A., but his troubles are his own making. And he's complained bitterly about him in the past.”