The Chronicle is out today with a story about The Wrong Picture: The man whose mug was identified as that of San Francisco Police Department serial batterer John Haggett is actually a cab driver and part-time security guard named Jack Neeley. The Chron, proactive as ever, covered a press conference that Neeley’s lawyer called yesterday. Neeley said he’s both perplexed and disturbed at his sudden notoriety. He doesn’t recall the paper taking his picture (the photo credit names a staff photographer and says the image was taken in 2004). He says one friend approached him after the picture ran to ask why Neeley never disclosed that he was an undercover police officer. And, since his image has been identified with a man who has beaten up the locals and subjected them to all the favorite racial and ethnic slurs, Neeley is afraid he’ll wind up the target of some aggrieved citizen.

The Chron dutifully reports all that and mentions a couple times what a swell job it’s doing responding to Neeley’s concerns. But the paper offers no explanation for how the mistake happened. I’m sure there’s a debate going on there right now about what to do. The paper has a “readers’ representative” and he’s probably getting an earful from his audience.

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