SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The mayor of San Francisco said Tuesday that four police officers under investigation in the sending of racist and homophobic texts will be fired if the probe determines they sent the messages.
Mayor Edwin M. Lee called the messages heinous and despicable and called for immediate disciplinary action against the officers.
The texts targeting blacks, Mexicans, Filipinos and gay men were discovered by federal authorities investigating former police Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.
The messages were sent between Furminger and officers in 2011 and 2012 and disclosed in court documents, authorities said.
“The content of these text messages displays a bias that is incompatible with the values of our city and incompatible with the ability to perform sworn duties as a police officer,” Lee said. “If these statements are attributable to any San Francisco police officer, I join Police Chief Greg Suhr in seeking nothing less than termination.”
The San Francisco Police Officers Association issued a statement saying the actions were not emblematic of individuals it represents.
“All these racist and homophobic text messages, if true, are disgraceful and humiliating to the community we serve,” the statement said.
The names of the officers have not been released by police. The officers have been reassigned and will have no interaction with the public during the investigation, a decision the association supports.
Authorities said the texts feature the repeated use of the phrase “white power” and references to burning crosses and the Ku Klux Klan.
District Attorney George Gascon said his office will review all cases going back 10 years that the officers were linked to either by writing a report, submitting evidence or testifying in court. He said there is no place for bigotry in San Francisco.
Furminger’s attorney told the San Francisco Examiner that the messages were taken out of context.