A passel of racist, homophobic text messages sent between at least five San Francisco police officers were released last Friday as part of a motion by the U.S. Attorney's office to deny bail to Ian Furminger, a former SFPD sergeant recently convicted on federal corruption charges and a primary actor in the series of bigoted texts.
The texts, from 2011–2012, initially implicated four current officers and Furminger—but by Monday, 10 more cops were placed under review by the SFPD's internal investigation for their alleged involvement. On Tuesday, San Francisco Dist. Attorney George Gascon announced a review of approximately 100,000 convictions for "potential bias."
- "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."
The four officers, identified as Michael Robison, 46; Noel Schwab, 49; Rain Daugherty, 40; and Michael Celis, 47, have all been placed on desk duty for the course of the internal investigation, NPR reports. All four have served the SFPD for at least 10 years.
"We pride ourselves on being a progressive city, yet we have active officers who are engaging in not only racist banter, but they were talking about killing people, referring to an African American as a 'savage,'" Jeff Adachi, San Francisco's Public Defender, told the Los Angeles Times. "A person does not become a racist overnight. These were officers who in some cases had over a decade of service. We need to look at all of them."
Meanwhile Furminger granted an exclusive interview to the San Francisco ABC affiliate where he insists he is not racist, telling the station, "My best friends and closest friends are all black, gay, Chinese or Asian, and Hispanic. That's who I socialize with. That's who I spend my time with." He goes on: "These were supposed to be funny, not to be broadcast on the news."
Both San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and Mayor Edwin Lee have called for the officers' termination. (SFist has a comprehensive roundup of their, and other San Francisco public officials, statements.)