San Francisco police officers to be fired for homophobic texts
Seven police officers were found to have a sent a string of racist and homophobic message.
The messages came to light in March during the corruption trial of officer Ian Furminger. In a motion refusing him bail, the US Attorney’s office released a selection of text messages sent between officers that use racist and homophobic language.
Furminger and other officers, whose names have not been made public, used offensive language and racial slurs to refer to African Americans, Mexicans and other ethnic groups, and homophobic slurs such as “fag” and “homo”.
Furminger sent messages such as: “I love calling you a fag!”, “You are a total homo! And your [sic] gay!” and “Busted up but thats what happens to fags!”
The New York Times reports that seven officers have been suspended. Police Chief Greg Suhr is taking steps to have the officers fired.
He said: “[The messages] are of such despicable thinking that those responsible clearly fall below the minimum standards required to be a police officer.
There is also no place in the SFPD for any officer capable of the thinking expressed in these hateful text messages. The fine, right-minded men and women of the SFPD that are of the impeccable character required of a [police officer] expect no less.”
As well as the seven officers in line to be fired, a further seven were involved to varying degrees. One officer has resigned and others have been reassigned to non-public facing roles.
Lawyers representing the officers argue the messages are not representative of their real views, describing them as “naive banter” as a reaction to a stressful job.
San Francisco’s public defender Jeff Adachi said: “The characterization of these hateful statements as innocent banter is dead wrong. This casual dehumanization leads to real-life suffering and injustice. It foments a toxic environment in which citizens fear and distrust the police, brutality reigns, and good officers are less effective.”