The four San Francisco police officers under investigation for sending racist and homophobic text messages have all been on the force for more than a decade, and at least two have faced disciplinary action in the past, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Police Chief Greg Suhr said he will seek to fire those responsible for the messages. “It makes me sick to my stomach to even have these guys around,” he said. The officers were transferred to non-public-contact positions in the department last month. The action came soon after federal authorities turned over messages in 2011 and 2012 sent to and from former Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was convicted in federal court on corruption charges.
The racially charged and homophobic texts came to light in a filing in federal court Friday by prosecutors seeking to keep Furminger in custody as he appeals his conviction and 40-month sentence. The revelation comes as police departments around the nation are subject to intense scrutiny for racial bias. Tony Brass, an attorney for two of the officers, called the text messages “unfortunate, to say the least.” “No one is suggesting that bigotry and racism in texts are acceptable,” Brass said. “However, these were texts from one private phone to another, intended for an audience of one person. Not many of us would want all of our texts published and to have our entire career judged by our worst comments.”