San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr said Friday that he had recommended seven officers who sent racist and homophobic text messages to each other be dismissed from the force, the New York Times reports.
The texts, sent between 2011 and 2012, "are of such despicable thinking that those responsible clearly fall below the minimum standards required to be a police officer," Suhr said. The district attorney and public defender's offices have both opened investigations into these officers' cases.
“The characterization of these hateful statements as innocent banter is dead wrong,” Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s public defender, said Friday. “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.”
The texts came to light during a federal corruption case against former SFPD sergeant Ian Furminger. NBC Bay Area reports that two officers involved in the scandal have resigned, two have been reassigned and sent to the police commission for discipline, and four others face "lesser punishments."
"This is very unusual because we’re getting a view of sort of what’s going on between at least this group of police officers from one police officer’s private cell phone," Adachi told NBC. "We would not know this if it were not for the federal corruption trial and investigation that resulted in learning about these texts."