SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Four San Francisco police officers are under investigation in connection with racially charged and homophobic text messages, police officials said.
The officers were reassigned last month after federal authorities turned over messages sent to and from former Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was recently convicted of corruption charges, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.
San Francisco Bay Area-radio station KQED first aired the texts, which feature slurs against blacks, Mexicans, Filipinos, and gays. They also feature officers and civilians using the phrase “White Power” repeatedly.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told the Chronicle 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 texts came into light in a court document filed Friday by federal prosecutors seeking to keep Furminger in custody as he appeals his conviction and 40-month sentence. Prosecutors said the texts are proof that Furminger, 48, is a “virulent” racist and homophobe.
Furminger’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The officers under investigation have all been on the force for more than a decade. While police have not identified the officers, an attorney for officer Rain Daugherty said her client is “ashamed and mortified by all his banter.”
An attorney for two other officers — Michael Robison and Michael Celis — said the text messages were intended to be private.
“No one is suggesting that bigotry and racism in texts are acceptable,” Tony Brass said in an e-mail to the Chronicle. “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.”