Four San Francisco police officers are being investigated for exchanging racist and homophobic texts, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The text messages, reportedly exchanged between former Sgt. Ian Furminger and current officers Michael Robison, Noel Schwab, Rain Daugherty and Michael Celis, came to light after the feds recently prosecuted and convicted Furminger on corruption charges.
All four officers have been reassigned to positions that require no contact with the public.
The messages were sent between October of 2011 and June of 2012. Here are some of the most vile texts, mainly initiated through Furminger, per a federal document made public Friday:
• “We got two blacks at my boys [sic] school and they are brother and sister! There cause dad works for the school district and I am watching them like hawks.”
• In response to a text asking “Do you celebrate quanza [sic] at your school?” Furminger wrote: “Yeah we burn the cross on the field! Then we celebrate Whitemas.”
• “Its [sic] worth every penny to live here [Walnut Creek] away from the savages.”
• “Those guys are pretty stupid! Ask some dumb ass questions you would expect from a black rookie! Sorry if they are your buddies!”
• “The buffalo soldier was why the Indians Wouldnt [sic] shoot the niggers that found for the confederate They [sic] thought they were sacred buffalo and not human.”
• “Gunther Furminger was a famous slave auctioneer.”
• “My wife has 2 friends over that don’t know each other the cool one says to me get me a drink nigger not knowing the other is married to one just happened right now LMFAO.”
• “White power.”
• In response to a text saying “Niggers should be spayed,” Furminger wrote “I saw one an hour ago with 4 kids.”
• “I am leaving it like it is, painting KKK on the sides and calling it a day!”
• “Cross burning lowers blood pressure! I did the test myself!”
• In response to a text saying “All niggers must fucking hang,” Furminger wrote “Ask my 6 year old what he thinks about Obama.”
• In response to a text saying “Just boarded train at Mission/16th,” Furminger wrote “Ok, just watch out for BM’s” [black males].
• “I hate to tell you this but my wife friend [sic] is over with their kids and her husband is black! If [sic] is an Attorney but should I be worried?” Furminger’s friend, an SFPD officer, responded: “Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its [sic] not against the law to put an animal down.” Furminger responded, “Well said!”
• In response to a text from another SFPD officer regarding the promotion of a black officer to sergeant, Furminger wrote: “Fuckin nigger.”
What is especially disturbing about the text messages is that all four officers have at least 10 years on the force; some work in very specialized units in the SFPD. Robison, who has 23 years of service, was assigned to the Special Victims Unit before being transferred to the Mounted Unit.
Celis, a 16-year vet, was charged with four counts of misconduct, in 2004, for flashing his badge and trying to bribe his way into his estranged wife’s hotel room. In 2009, Schwab was seen on video threatening to break a skateboarder's arm “like a twig” if he resisted arrest. It is not clear if he faced disciplinary charges in connection to the threats he made. As for, Daugherty, a 15 year veteran, his attorney says her client is sorry for his “impulsive and insensitive” texts.
The revelation of the racist texts may very well explain why black people in San Francisco are arrested at disproportionately high rates compared with white residents. According to statistics from the California Department of Corrections, black Americans are seven times more likely to be arrested, despite making up just 6 percent of the city’s population.
San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said that he could not confirm the identities of the officers connected to the texts but is ready to fire them.
“You cannot unring the bell on these text messages — anybody who has sent these text messages should not be a police officer,” Suhr said. “Ian Furminger should never have been a police officer; he’s a disgrace. These other officers have disgraced the department as well.”
Public Defender Jeff Adachi says the officers’ identities must be made public because their testimony in prior cases must be scrutinized.
“We have a right to this information. It may affect both current and past cases,” he said. “This is hugely problematic — if these officers were involved in active investigations in the last 2½ years, it is relevant and must be disclosed.”
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