Read the Horrifyingly Racist Texts Sent by a San Francisco Police Officer to Fellow Officers

A probe into the San Francisco Police Department uncovered dozens of racist and homophobic texts sent from former police officer Jason Lai to fellow officers, CNN reported Tuesday.

The texts, reportedly sent between Lai and other members of the SFPD, used derogatory language to discuss minorities, including racial slurs for blacks and Hispanics. During an exchange about the Baltimore protests in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, Lai referred to African Americans as “a pack of wild dogs on the loose.”

But Lai’s bigotry didn't stop there; he once texted a colleague, “Indian ppl are disgusting.” He also made veiled comments about his fellow officers, using the numeric fire code 528 to indicate gay members of the force are “flames or flaming.”

The texts came to light as part of an investigation into charges that Lai sexually assaulted a woman last year. Though prosecutors declined to file rape charges against Lai, the investigation uncovered scores of derogatory texts among Lai and four other officers. SFDP spokesman Officer Albie Esparza told CNN three of the officers are no longer with the department, while the fourth is facing disciplinary action.

In a statement to CNN, Lai’s lawyer said the texts are “not reflective of who he is,” adding there is “no evidence” that his racist sentiments impacted how he carried out his duty as a police officer.

This is the second time in two years officials have investigated the SFPD over racist texts. Last March, federal prosecutors turned up troves of racist and homophobic exchanges among officers convicted of stealing money and drugs from low-income residents. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said that scandal prompted a review 14 officers and nearly 1,600 cases.

In an interview with CNN last week, Gascón called the SFDB union “a good old boys network that does everything they can to protect the status quo.” He suggested the problem is two-fold, noting there are “a substantial number of people within the organization that are racist” as well as “a culture that has allowed those people to thrive and survive and even promote within that environment.”

Gascón insisted there is no place for racism in the SFPD ranks.

“If you're somebody that actually gets to put people in jail or in worst case conditions actually take somebody's life from them, and do so lawfully, you don't get to be a racist,” Gascón said.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.