The head of the San Francisco Fire Department’s Arson Task Force who spoke out against staffing shortages and a backlog of open investigations, prompting disciplinary charges to be filed against him, is set to be reassigned.
Acting Capt. John Darmanin called his reassignment a “demotion” — retaliation for the comments he made at three Fire Commission meetings, and a pair of complaints he filed with the California Department of Justice and San Francisco Police Department.
The complaints centered around a fire investigator assigned to the Arson Task Force without a background check, giving him access to confidential and personal information about the public, Darmanin said. The investigator was removed after the complaints were lodged.
The Fire Department denied allegations of retaliation. “That’s absolutely not the case, retaliation would be an unethical move and that’s not how this fire department operates,” said Lt. Mindy Talmadge, a spokesperson for the department.
Talmadge said Darmanin is an acting captain and former fire investigator Attica Bowden will take his position as permanent captain. Darmanin said he was notified Oct. 13 of reassignment to the Plan Check section of the department, where he previously served for 10 years, but Talmadge said he’s not yet been reassigned. He is currently on leave.