SFPD officers arrested for racist text messages, department under investigation
The issue of racial bias among American police forces has defied geographical boundaries. Highly publicized incidents have been documented nationwide from Missouri to Baltimore, and that list is growing. Even a city like San Francisco, typically known as a progressive, forward thinking bastion, is not exempt from the troubles.
Recently, Officer Ian Furminger of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has recently been under investigation. Upon evaluation, racist, homophobic, and generally intolerant text messages were discovered on Furminger’s cell phone between a total of 14 other SFPD officers. These texts messages included statements such as “white power,” and “niggers should be spayed… I saw one an hour ago with four kids.”
This discovery motivated SFPD to execute an internal investigation of those 14 officers, which led to over 3,000 cases of racial bias. District Attorney George Gascon then assembled a task force to continue their investigation and determine if a “cultural bias” exists within the SFPD. This viewpoint could compromise the integrity of arrests and police investigations.
In a statement made to the Los Angeles Times, Gascon stated that “if just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers — that’s one too many.”
The prevalence of these PR fiascos have caused departments to act swiftly in response. Buzzfeed News reports that two SFPD officers have already resigned following the release of these messages. Police Chief Greg Suhr is also calling for the firing of at least six more officers. The recent chaos in Baltimore demonstrated that government officials must take immediate action to regain public confidence; doing nothing for too long can incite violence and distrust.
This investigation proves that these issues are taken seriously and that racial prejudice in the task force is not as far-fetched of an idea as one may think. Much like protests spurring from the deaths of Freddie Gray and Michael Brown, incidents exist that show evidence of biased, antagonistic views of citizens whom officers have sworn to protect.
What do you think of these text messages? Has enough been done by the SFPD in response? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!