Thursday, November 26, 2009

Death of a friend – November 1998


Sergeant Tom Perdue of the San Francisco Police Department was killed on 12 November 1998. He was riding his new motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson Sportster, about 9:30PM, on Market Street, when a Volvo turned in front of him.  He suffered a ruptured aorta and a broken neck. He died instantly.

Tom was an expert on Asian crime.  He was good at everything, but his specialties were Chinese and Japanese. When he walked the streets of Chinatown, he knew everyone, and their children. When you met someone, as you walked with Tom, he would later give you that person’s life history, how they had been wronged and by whom, or maybe who they’d wronged or cheated, and what he’d done about it.  He knew the bad guys and the good guys, and the man who ran the tram. Bar girls, bat boys and Beat Specials, all knew Tom Perdue.  His nick-name “The Monkey King,” spoke volumes to the knowledgeable.

He was a grand tour guide and knew well the history of his beloved San Francisco, and its people. A member of the Chinese Historical Society, he was aware of the racial barriers thrown up through the years, in the path of the Chinese population of San Francisco.  He wanted to make things right, in the ways he could, by putting away some of the criminals that preyed on the Asian communities of the City by the Bay.  He did a swell job.

Sergeant Perdue is survived by his wonderful daughters, Wendy and Janna.

He was known and respected.
He was liked.
He was loved.
He was a hero.
He was my friend.
He is dead, and the world is the worse for his passing.
His ashes have been scattered over the sea.

Inspector John McKenna, S.F.P.D. (Ret.), William L. Cassidy, David Kaplan (U.S. News) and I were among those who gave, for want of a better word, eulogies, at Tom’s funeral.

Lieutenant Jack Willoughby
N.O.P.D. (Ret.)
Scottsboro, Alabama
November 1998


Opus #6 said...

I still wish I had known him.

WoFat said...

Tom was a unique individual. Like several of the guys in his business, some of his "higher-ups," hated him because he knew more than they did, and showed it.

LL said...

I too mourn the Monkey King.

The lot of telling Cassidy that Tom died fell to me. It was hard for me to do that because I knew what it would do to Cassidy.

WoFat said...

David Kaplan called to tell me the bad news. What a shock.

LL said that Tom was supposed to walk between raindrops. He was right. How could this happen?

Perdue and I had talked about how nice it would be if he could come to the Alabama hills for the upcoming holidays, but we never finalized any plans. There was plenty of time, we thought.

asiacop said...

The first time I visited the Gang Task Force at Judicial Hall in San Fancisco I was impressed by all the members, however Tom stuck out. Not only for his size but his knowledge. He among the other members took me under their wings and broke me in to the secret world of Asian Crime. Toms knowledge was incredible, even later when he went back to patrol, I stayed with him at his house and he took me on ride alongs with him. Such a great loss to society and police brothers. After his departure it was just not the same to investigate Asian Crime, as one of the biggest resources was gone. R.I.P. Tom. We'll meet again !

bluwtrsailor said...

Thank you for publishing this...