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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Will Julius Turman's Domestic Violence Case Hurt His Chances of Becoming S.F. Police Commissioner?

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Julius Turman
  • Julius Turman

It's fair to assume every politician has skeletons in the closet -- Eliot Spitzer and his prostitute, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his lovechild.

And then there is Julius Turman, a local lawyer, ambitious community activist, and a fixture in the Castro's gay community.

While Turman isn't an elected official, he currently sits on the city's Human Rights Commission, and has shown the signs of a budding politician. He's also the man who was the center of a SF Weekly article in 2007 after his former boyfriend accused Turman of beating him. Although criminal charges were eventually dropped, a story like that will continue to haunt an aspiring go-getter like Turman.

Fast forward to the present. Turman is applying for the open Police

Commissioner seat which was vacated by Jim Hammer in April -- and that has some community members and city supervisors feeling uneasy.

"I do have some concerns," Supervisor Jane Kim told SF Weekly. "Obviously, with the Police Commission, we are looking at an oversight body over police officers and if there is some question about his past and his experience, then it might weaken his oversight capacity."

Turman's former boyfriend, Philip Horne, accused Turman of beating him up the night of Jan. 2, 2006, giving him a bloody nose, scratches, and a loosened tooth. Initially, Horne declined to press charges, but then changed his mind almost two weeks later. A 911 call had Horne screaming for help, however, Turman has always claimed that he did nothing wrong -- and the fight was simply because he was defending himself. Prosecutors dropped the felony domestic violence charges, yet the case was settled in a civil court. Horne claimed that District Attorney Kamala Harris didn't prosecute Turman because of his political connections.

Turman recently applied for the Ethics Commission, but then abruptly withdrew his application, which City Hall insiders speculate was because he feared his past would resurface.

"To now consider an applicant who actually faced criminal charges, although later dropped, but who paid an undisclosed amount in a civil settlement, for domestic violence would seem to scrape the bottom of the list for an applicant," says Larry Bush, a local blogger and longtime City Hall watchdog.

Kim, who sits on the Rules Committee which will interview all the candidates, said she certainly has some questions for Turman. That's not to say that she is ready to disqualify him. In fact, Kim told us that she believes it's entirely possible Turman was innocent. Turman did not return SF Weekly's phone call.  

"It's one of those cases where it's a hard call for supervisors," Kim says. "But there are definitely questions from community advocates coming forward about this potential domestic violence issue."

SF Weekly contacted Hammer, who, while he was on the commission, incidentally lobbied San Francisco to create a domestic violence registry. However, Hammer wouldn't speak a bad word about Turman, or the case. 

"Julius is a friend, and someone I like and admire," Hammer told us. "As a former prosecutor, I am fair enough to not convict someone based on news accounts."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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