San Francisco Dismisses 8 Criminal Cases Affected By Vile Police Texts, Many More To Come

In March, a federal case against a corrupt San Francisco police officer uncovered racist and homophobic text messages that were sent among 14 officers on the force. The discovery marked the opening of a scandal — and an investigation into how deeply the disgusting, prejudicial attitudes ran in the department.

Since then, eight of the officers have been dismissed from the force. The corrupt policeman, Sgt. Ian Furminger, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for stealing money and property from suspects.

On Thursday, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón dismissed eight criminal cases that might have been contaminated by prejudice. The eight are just the beginning of the repercussions. In all, 3000 cases that were handled by one of the 14 implicated officers are being investigated, going back 10 years.

Gascón also announced additions to the task force he formed in March. The original goal was to investigate both the text messages and an array of other charges against the department. Three retired judges will join the group because their mission has now expanded and may take months to complete. Along with examining the texts, they are looking at whether there is a systemic problem of prejudice within the department.

The district attorney revealed that as many as 3,000 cases might have been contaminated by the officers’ attitudes. He said:

“If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers — that’s one too many.”

Before winning election as the district attorney, Gascón was the chief of police. He’s received a lot of praise for how quickly and directly he is handling the scandal.

The texts are extremely upsetting to read. They contain racial epithets, references to lynchings and cross burnings, statements celebrating White Power, and disparaging comments about homosexuals. The evidence uncovered in the federal case goes on for 16 pages and can be read at a link provided by the Los Angeles Times.

The president of the local NAACP, Rev. Amos Brown, appeared with Gascón during the announcement as a gesture of support. But he also emphasized the disturbing circumstances that are behind the investigation. He said:

“For these texts to come out of the mind and heart of these officers, it speaks volumes.”

It speaks volumes for the state of the country that this kind of rampant racism and homophobia has permeated the police department of one of the most — if not the most — liberal cities in the country.

From Baltimore, Maryland to Ferguson, Missouri to San Francisco, it’s becoming more and more obvious to mainstream America that the hate and oppression directed at minority communities is very real and very pervasive. The question is, what are the rest of us going to do about it?

Feature photo via Wikipedia.