Greg Suhr, San Francisco Police Department chief, vowed Friday that he would fire a sergeant, and captain and six more officers for being involved in texting and receiving “reprehensible” homophobic and racist remarks, which were recently discovered by federal investigators during a corruption probe.
Suhr seems to want to prove that he still holds a firm grip on the department, after a wave of criticism hit SFPD due to the racist text messages. Moreover, the scandal could make the police officers’ linked to it less reliable when testifying in court cases.
Chief Suhr recently said that the eight officers were suspended from their jobs and referred to the Police Commission. The commission will take a closer look at the “repulsive conversations” and decide whether it is appropriate to dismiss the officers from their jobs.
Suhr also recommends termination since their behavior “is incompatible with that of a police officer.” But three officers have already resigned or announced their resignation, while their chief hopes that more of them would soon follow their example.
But among the eight officers three of them are veterans with more than 11 years experiences. Capt. Jason Fox, 42, has even served the San Francisco Police Department for more than 20 years. Still, chief Suhr doesn’t seem impressed. He only said that the involvement of such high-ranking members in the scandal was “particularly disheartening.”
Six other officers however were involved to a lower degree in the offensive text messages.
For instance, two of them exchanged “single event texts” which were less offensive than those exchanged by the eight officers Suhr wants to fire. The two officers will also have to give explanations to the commission and risk termination. Other four only violated the department’s rules such as using improper language. Those risk only a 10-day suspension, according to Suhr.
The inflammatory text messages were sent between 2011 and 2012, but they came to light during a recent investigation on Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was taken into custody over corruption charges.
Sgt. Fruminger was named a “virulent” homophobe and racist by the investigators who found his messages. In one conversation with another officer, Fruminger asked his peer what to do if the Afro-American husband of one of his friends’ former wife came over to his home.
The other officer replied that he should gun “the monkey” down since it wasn’t illegal to “put an animal down.” Furminger agreed and said that the half-breeds should be killed too, while the other officer reassured him that there was nothing wrong about that since they were “an abomination of the nature.”
The SFPD officials declined to unveil the names of the officers involved in the offensive texting. Yet, inner sources point the finger at Cpt. Jason Fox, Michael Celis, Michael Robison, Noel Schwab, Sean Doherty, Michael Wibunsin, and Rain Daugherty. The men were officially notified that they would face probable termination.
Tony Brass, the former attorney of Robison and Celis, said that he declined to go further with the case since there was no point in fighting the charges. Both Celis and Robison announced their resignation before the end of the investigation. Schwab also said he will resign Tuesday.
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