Officers’ Slur-Filled Texts: 3,000 SFPD Arrests Under Review In Racism, LGBT Bias Scandal

Warning: Language in the video and post text may be considered offensive to some.

In wake of the discovery of officers’ slur-filled texts, a reporter from CNN covered a piece on an expanded police bias case in San Francisco, and posed a question to readers and viewers: Is the city on its way in becoming another Ferguson?

Friday, District Attorney George Gascon told throngs of reporters that his office is reviewing some 3,000 cases involving arrests and prosecution of African Americans, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, Filipino, and Mexican Americans. Gascon has identified more than a dozen police officers over the past 10 years, who have allegedly taken part in exchanging text messages containing racial and homophobic slurs. Some of the messages were shared with the media.

“Do you celebrate Quanza [sic] at your school?”

“Yea, we burn the cross on the field, then we celebrate Whitemas.”

In yet another disturbing racist text, unnamed officers exchanged slurs about black women in a derogatory manner. Here, the N-word is used.

“They should be spayed.”

“I saw one an our [sic] ago with 4 kids.”

The scandal of officers’ slur-filled text messages surfaced early this year during the federal probe of an SFPD officer. Sgt. Ian Furminger was convicted in December of 2014 on several counts of corruption. In February, a judge sentenced him to 41 months in prison.

However, a motion was filed by a U.S. attorney’s office in March asking that a judge deny bail to the defendant. Within the document was a list of text messages. This prompted the district attorney to delve deeper into the department. As a consequence, a number of gay and racial slurs from officers texts were discovered.

Gascon said about eight cases have been missed, and the probe into the thousands of others may produce more. At issue is the integrity of the criminal justice system. The DA spoke about the “messages being traded between” these officers. He calls them “horrendous.”

“Certainly in this area, it’s an area we can certainly not afford to look the other way. There’s too much riding on it. This is a systemic problem we have in San Francisco. This is not an isolated case of 14 officers.”

For and independent look at the expanded investigation into the entire department, Gascon retained the free services of three retired judges to serve on a task force. The trio will investigate the thousands of cases involving disproportionate numbers of arrests involving minorities and members of the LGBT community. There is the likelihood some of the arrests could have been motivated by bias. Moreover, more bias-charged text slurs from officers could be uncovered.

In the wake of the investigation into Ferguson, Missouri’s police department, where black teen Michael Brown was gunned down by white police officer Darren Wilson, Gascon says his office takes this matter seriously. A federal probe uncovered systemic bias in the Ferguson Police Department during a pattern and practice investigation. A similar one is underway in Baltimore, Maryland, in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]