Cops who sent racist texts will not be punished

San Francisco police officers who sent racist and homophobic text messages will not be subject to any disciplinary actions by the police department, a judge decided Monday.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith determined the police department waited too long to punish the officers involved, after it discovered the messages in 2012. After hearing arguments from attorneys on both sides, Goldsmith on Monday upheld the tentative decision he made in the case Friday.

Goldsmith, in making his decision, said the one-year statute of limitations period for investigating officer misconduct is to protect the rights of police officers and to ensure the public’s safety,

The officers were brought up on disciplinary charges earlier this year after the racist text messages were revealed during a police corruption case in federal court. Since then, Officer Rain Daugherty argued on behalf of himself and some nine other unnamed officers that The City failed to file charges when the texts were first discovered years ago.

Alison Berry Wilkinson, the attorney representing the officers in the suit, agreed with the judge’s finding, saying he saw The City had “blundered.”

Wilkinson said the judge “certainly made the right ruling” as a matter of law. “[The City] failed to be responsible to the public by not investigating these texts as soon as they became aware of them,” Wilkinson said.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon in a statement said the officers escaped discipline due to a “massive breakdown” in the police department’s process.

“What’s worse, some were allowed to continue in civilian contact positions despite knowledge of the text messages, thereby putting thousands of cases in jeopardy,” Gascon said. “The fact that San Francisco is forced to retain police officers that demonstrated explicit racism will have ramifications for the reputation of the department, the fair administration of justice, and the trust of the community SFPD serves.”

Max Szabo, spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, sent out a tweet on Monday that said 13 cases have been dismissed by the DA’s office in the wake of the text scandal.

The scandal emerged in a March filing in federal court in the case of former Sgt. Ian Furminger. Goldsmith said the department failed twice in its duty to begin disciplinary proceedings within the statute of limitations. First, when the text messages were internally revealed during the federal investigation and then when that investigation was completed.

The text messages were first handed over to the department’s criminal internal affairs division in 2012, but the department argued that no disciplinary charges were filed because of the ongoing corruption investigation and subsequent trial of former Sgt. Ian Furminger.

Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Psilocybin magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
‘Magic mushrooms’ moving into the mainstream

Efforts to decriminalize psychedelics could follow several different paths

The 2020 Census has concluded taking responses sooner than expected. (Courtesy photo)
What does California have to lose if undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census?

By Kim Bojórquez The Sacramento Bee If The U.S. Supreme Court rules… Continue reading

Most Read