Posted by Curt on 16 August, 2006 at 12:19 pm. 2 comments already!


This is an amazing video of a press conference giving by the head of the San Francisco’s Police Officers Union. He is speaking about the local news accounts blaming Officer Birco for his own death while trying to stop a car load of armed robbery suspects. Here is the news account of how he died:

Nick-Tomasito Birco, 39, who had been on the force five years, was killed when a Dodge van carrying the four robbery suspects broadsided his patrol car at Cambridge and Felton streets in the Portola district at 12:56 a.m. The van was being chased north on Cambridge by officers in at least two other cruisers, none of whom knew Birco was in the area, authorities said.

Birco’s car was spun completely around , hit a curb and a light pole and came to rest on its side. The van slammed into a home and other parked cars.

The van’s occupants, three men and a woman, were arrested at the scene. They are suspected of having robbed and assaulted a man a short time before on Bayshore Boulevard, police said.

The van’s driver faced charges of burglary and lewd conduct with a minor and was free on bail, court records show. He had been arrested on suspicion of auto theft last month but was released without being charged, records show.

A recent investigation found the exact events that led up to his death:

The San Francisco police officer killed last week in the line of duty was in the process of deploying a strip of road spikes — a standard police technique aimed at stopping fleeing drivers — when a speeding van containing four robbery suspects slammed into his patrol car, authorities said Monday.

Investigators have now pieced together the events leading up to the death of Nick-Tomasito Birco, 39, who officials say acted bravely early Wednesday in trying to disable the van and bring an end to a 12-minute chase.

Birco was working at Bayview station when he left to respond to a robbery call on Bayshore Boulevard just after midnight. The van’s driver sped away from other officers after the robbery victim pointed out the suspects, and the vehicle led police on a chase to Colma and back on Interstate 280 before exiting into the Portola neighborhood.

Birco drove to the neighborhood after he apparently heard several calls from dispatchers for an officer to deploy road spikes, investigators said Monday. The spikes are designed to blow out a vehicle’s tires and can be quickly retracted to avoid doing the same to pursuing police cars.

Authorities say Birco apparently was trying to lay down the spikes at Felton and Cambridge streets, decided it was too risky and threw the kit onto the front seat. It appears he was trying to move the patrol car when he was hit by the van being driven by 19-year-old Steven Petrilli of Hayward, authorities say.

The police car was spun 360 degrees and slammed into a power pole before coming to rest on its side. Birco was declared dead at San Francisco General Hospital. No one else was hurt.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Fleming, a former police officer who is prosecuting Petrilli, said the road spikes had been found in Birco’s cruiser. “That’s why he was there, to deploy road spikes,” he said.

Now this is the video that must be seen where Gary Delanges expresses his frustration at our legal system and out of control Judges who allow criminals such as these who killed Officer Birco to roam free:

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He is saying what most of us in law enforcement have been saying for a long time. What they hell do you want us to do when criminals try to get away from us? Let them go? We’re talking about armed robbery suspects here, would it have been ok to you if we allowed these guys to flee into your neighborhood, putting your families at risk with four armed criminals loose?

The job of the police is to catch the bad guys, not let them go.

Either way, Gary Delagnes deserves a huge pat on the back from those who want criminals to stay locked up and for those of us who want to see activist judges booted out.

For those interested here is the local video of the funeral for Officer Birco:

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Here is the news account of Officer Birco’s life.

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