Wrong man in photo speaks out
Sunday's Chronicle mistakenly identified him as police officer
- Lance Williams, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
A San Francisco taxi driver said Tuesday that he had been "put in this situation where I have to watch my back" because The Chronicle mistakenly identified him in a photo as a police officer with a record of suspensions for using excessive force.
At a news conference at his lawyer's office, Jack Neeley Jr., 42, said he had been "pulled out of my daily life routine" on Sunday, when The Chronicle's series on problems with the use of force by San Francisco police included a story about Officer John Haggett, who has repeatedly been the subject of citizens complaints.
The story about Haggett was mistakenly illustrated with a photo used twice of Neeley, who also works as a security guard at a downtown hotel.
Since the story was published, Neeley said, a friend has asked him why he never revealed that he was actually an undercover police officer, and a passenger in his cab recognized him from the photo, saying, "It's you, right?"
The questions and comments about the photo have made him uncomfortable, upset his wife and caused him to miss work, he said.
His ultimate fear, he said, is that "somebody who hates the police is going to come out there and say, 'There's that rotten S.O.B.,' " and attack him.
Neeley's lawyer, Daniel Bacon, said he convened the news conference "to get the word out that Mr. Neeley is not a police officer and has never been a police officer." Bacon said The Chronicle had been cooperative and "forthcoming" in correcting the error.
Neeley said he had never met Haggett and does not remember being photographed by The Chronicle. He said he still trusts the media but faulted the newspaper for the mistake.
"Being a newspaper, you know, people experienced in doing what they do, they should have checked a little better," he said.
The Chronicle has acknowledged the error and is working with Neeley and Bacon to address their concern, said Patricia Hoyt, director of media public relations for the newspaper.
So is the newspaper going to run a front page article letting everyone know their error?
I doubt it.
Well its okay. After he sues the shxx out of the newspaper, he can move to a better town and live comfortably without having to drive a cab again.