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Monday, August 23, 2010

VideoGate Cop Andrew Cohen Now Private Investigator

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 1:40 PM

That'd be Powder, P.I., yes...
  • That'd be Powder, P.I., yes...
The five-year-old VideoGate scandal is back in the news, as Officer Wendy Hurley released some of the offending videos to the public for the first time at her disciplinary hearing last week. Meanwhile, the ringmaster of the entire video scandal, Andrew Cohen, officially said sayonara to the department on July 1 and has found a new line of work: hunting down child predators.

Goodbye, department blues. Hello, fedora hat. Cohen nabbed his private investigator license and started a Berkeley-based practice, Theia Investigations, last month focusing on child predators and educating kids and parents about the potential perils of the Internet.

"It's one of my pet peeves as a cop," says Cohen, who has two teenage daughters. "That kids were so easily groomed online as easy prey and parents were so easily ignoring the signs."

Cohen never worked in the SFPD Juvenile Division, the department that handles child sex crimes, yet things would often come up while he was working as an officer at Francisco Middle School. He says so far, the bulk of his work has been on adultery cases -- one case involves a woman worried that her husband may be a pedophile - and live-scan fingerprinting.



Cohen will be going out to schools this fall to do safety presentations to kids and parents. Meanwhile, he continues to blog about the disciplinary hearings, and he's also secured the URL to bayareasmostwanted.com, the seed of what he hopes to turn into an America's Most Wanted-type website in the future.

Cohen says he hopes to also prepare surveillance video for trials, work he says he was trying to get into as a San Francisco cop while sidelined to the records room while his ever-increasing list of disciplinary charges was pending. (As we reported, while he was on desk duty, Cohen forever screwed up his shoulder by trying to save a recycling bin from toppling. He underwent surgery to reattach a tendon, which then snapped off again when he slipped on water in the lunchroom. Things were just not going well.)

Any desire to do video trial work for the department? "Absolutely frickin' not. Ask me again when a new chief comes in." In fact, he told us he was so pissed off while his disciplinary charges were pending for five years that he refused to spend one dime in San Francisco.

"Ever since December of '05, I made a formal vow I will not give one cent of taxes to this city until Gavin Newsom is gone. And other than a bridge toll here and there, I've kept my vow." Cohen says he'd bring in his lunch, coffee, everything to work in the last years, and would barter with the folks at the Soma Inn Cafe owner for the occasional breakfast.

But the protest doesn't extend to earning San Francisco dollars -- he says he will happily accept investigative cases in the city. Of course, six years from now, the 44-year-old will start collecting city funds of a different sort: his police pension.

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Lauren Smiley

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