FIREWORKS, TEENAGE GIRLS AND AN SFPD PATROL CAR: Former cop caught in alleged corruption snafu

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By G.W. Schulz

Chronicle gossip sluts Matier & Ross caught up with an interesting scoop today involving a guy who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. His name is Arkady Zlobinsky. That’s him below in a photo the Chron ran, which kinda looks more like a Glamour Shot stolen from a bargain-bin picture frame than a staff-produced image.

zlobinsky1.jpg
Former SFPD cop Arkady Zlobinsky from, uh,
a series of Glamour Shots the Chronicle lined up?

Anyway, a while back, we reminded you of a short-lived feature we’d launched last year called “Cops Behaving Badly,” which was supposed to be a regular summary of the more disturbing and/or hilarious police disciplinary cases arriving at the San Francisco Police Commission for review, details of which we could obtain as public records from the commission’s secretary, a nice guy named Sgt. Joe Reilly.

Well, the series started off as loads of fun. There was the cop who got busted with pot in Lake Tahoe. There was the domestic-violence investigator who drunkenly crashed into a parked SUV in Marin County while off the clock. There was the lieutenant who was allegedly pulled over at different spots throughout the city three times while off duty in a string of civilian automobiles, twice with a golf towel curiously wrapped over his license plate.

He claimed to sometimes play golf late at night in the park, and the towel must have miraculously got caught in his trunk. All a big misunderstanding, but after apparently letting him go a few times, officers finally reported the incidents and the chief was forced to charge him with being uncooperative by refusing to turn over his license and trying to intimidate the officers who'd pulled him over. That was the same lieutenant who was arrested in 1983 for soliciting an act of prostitution.

And all that came just from our first installment of “Cops Behaving Badly." But the feature had to be killed shortly thereafter when the state Supreme Court ruled in a San Diego case that such disciplinary records (and subsequent misconduct hearings) could no longer be accessed by the public.

Our initial story on Copley Press v. San Diego Superior Court led with a description of the last handful of cases we’d managed to obtain from the police commission before Copley technically went into effect. Guess who appeared at the top? Arkady Zlobinsky.

The former SFPD officer of eight years was forced to resign not that long ago for allegedly giving teenage girls fireworks and alcohol, failing to arrest a domestic-violence suspect believed to have violated a restraining order, and picking up women at a party and driving them around on patrol.

Good times!

Now Zlobinsky is enmeshed in an FBI probe, Matier & Ross report, for giving an Oakland planning manager $400 as a “thank you” gift for help in identifying properties to develop in the East Bay. Contracting is apparently Zlobinsky’s new line of work. He says he also earlier gave the planner gift certificates to a steak house and some top-shelf whiskey.

The planner disclosed the $400 offer to authorities fearing entrapment, so Zlobinsky went to the FBI with his own version of events. He says Oakland city Councilman Larry Reid was supposed to help him line up properties in Reid’s district in exchange for contracting help on his home, namely installing an AC unit, and the two also discussed campaign contributions.

But “a source close to the councilman” says that’s bullshit, and that Reid never pressured Zlobinsky for political funds. Gosh, Andy & Phil, who could that source be? Clearly not someone from Reid’s office looking to publicly set the record straight amid an FBI investigation.

Guess all this talk about liquor, fireworks and teenage girls got us reminiscing about the days when the press and public could review allegations of misconduct in law enforcement. If Mark Leno’s bill seeking to undo Copley's catastrophic effects survives Sacramento’s hallowed halls, “Cops Behaving Badly” will make a triumphant return.

*Image from the Chron's Katy Raddatz

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