Monday, January 30, 2012

Noir: A furtive felon and his furtive floozy sinisterly skulking sullenly

In July 2010, The SF Examiner published a story about a “surly scoundrel” who defiantly stood in the driveway of a fire station, purposely blocking firefighters’ path as they were responding to a call. The crazed lowlife stuck out his middle finger at the firefighters and refused to budge until they threatened to get tough with him.
Although the odd tale was comical on its own, we found a San Francisco police captain’s use of the term “surly scoundrel” the most amusing.
Greg Corrales, a 42-year veteran of the Police Department, also called that scoundrel a “remorseless reprobate” in his colorful community newsletter out of the Mission Police Station, which he penned for the better part of two years and that read like a 1940s hard-boiled crime novel.
While the newsletter covering police activity in the Mission district was a hit among journalists and locals, particularly English teachers, the Jan. 13 edition was Corrales’ last. 
The pulp-writing cop and ex-Marine was recently reassigned as police captain at San Francisco International Airport, and he said he doesn’t plan to write a newsletter in his new post.

Like Raymond Chandler’s detective thriller “Farewell, My Lovely,” Corrales’ final newsletter did not disappoint.

In reporting about a prostitution bust at 20th and Valencia streets, Corrales wrote that three cops “arrested a soiled dove for loitering for the purpose of tawdry faux amour.

To describe a marijuana bust at County Jail, he wrote, “Officer Sands thwarted a sullen smuggler’s attempts to sneak a quantity of The Weed with Roots in Hell into the jail.

He also penned a report about “a miscreant urinating on America.

Corrales began writing the newsletter in 2009, during his second stint as Mission station captain. In putting out a newsletter, which is required of all station captains, Corrales said he mixed his love of being a cop with his passion for the hard-boiled style. 

He collects books from the genre dating between the 1940s and mid-1960s. 

Favorite authors include Cornell Woolrich, David Goodis and San Francisco’s own Dashiell Hammett, Corrales said.

“Pulp writers in those days got paid like a penny a word for producing stories,” Corrales said. “They used a lot of adjectives to up their payroll.”

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: 

Enjoy:“We had hoped that it would not be necessary to arrest anyone on Christmas, but there were several miscreants out there that gave us no choice in the matter.
Miscreant #1 – 3:23 AM                 Mariposa & Utah                               111028953
While investigating reports of a man “casing” vehicles, Officers Cota & Wilgus discovered an auto burglar in flagrante delicto. When the brazen brigand was asked why he was in the victim’s auto, he replied, “The door was unlocked.”
Miscreant #2 – 7:13 AM                 20th & S. Van Ness                             111029105
While investigating a possible child abuse case, Officers Akmese & Cruz encountered a suspicious scoundrel skulking sinisterly. Further investigation revealed that he was a fugitive from justice.
Miscreants #3 & 4 – 11:13 AM      13th & Mission                                                
Officer Fischer encountered a furtive felon and his furtive floozy skulking sullenly. Further investigation revealed that they were both fugitives from justice.
 Miscreant #5 – 1:28 PM                 23rd & San Bruno                              111029371
Officers McDonald, Gassen, & Lattig sought, located, and apprehended a flagitious fugitive parolee, and assured that he would be spending the new year with his homies in state prison.”
Creative use of a thesaurus 
In the March 26 newsletter, for example, there is a reference to a fugitive who was a very glib and convincing prevaricator.” However, “pursuant to their diligent investigation” officers “discovered the craven convict’s real identity.”
And then there was the March 13th incident, when officers encountered “a shameless scoundrel who was in the act of urinating on America. The bumptious brute violently resisted arrest.”
From his 1969 hiring through 2002, Corrales accumulated at least 80 misconduct complaints made by citizens and was a defendant in 18 lawsuits, according to court and department records. The last police misconduct lawsuit was filed against him in 1992, records show. Most of the suits alleged that Corrales and officers he worked with used unnecessary force in arresting citizens, often for minor crimes. City taxpayers have spent more than $280,000 in jury awards and settlements to resolve the cases in which he was a defendant. In one case, Corrales was accused of choking and clubbing a cabdriver who had committed a minor parking violation. An arbitrator who heard the case in 1985 ruled that the city should pay the cabbie $25,000 in damages and that Corrales should pay him another $15,000 personally. The city appealed the decision and later ended up settling for $45,000. In another case, the city paid $26,000 to settle a brutality lawsuit in which Corrales was accused of punching a motorist in the neck after detaining the man for double-parking. In a third, the city paid $12,500 for damage caused during an auto accident that occurred when Corrales suddenly made an illegal U-turn on the Golden Gate Bridge. According to court records, at one point in the early 1980s, Corrales was being sued three or four times a year. 
Police Capt. Gregory Corrales, also indicted, was sued in 1985 for allegedly choking and clubbing a taxi driver who had committed a minor parking violation. The city settled the case for $45,000. According to court records, Corrales was named in three or four lawsuits in the early 1980s. 


  1. Great, great stuff! Sorry I missed out on it. Perhaps a book of his best might be forthcoming?