The last former San Francisco police officer to be released from prison on charges stemming from an FBI probe into police misconduct walked free last week, more than three years after the investigation blew the lid off a racist text scandal.
Former San Francisco Police Department veteran Edmond Robles, 50, was released from a federal prison in Sacramento on Friday, where he was sentenced to serve 39 months in March 2015 for theft, wire fraud and conspiracy.
Robles was the last former officer to remain in prison after the FBI probe into misconduct at residential hotels yielded convictions against four cops in two separate cases. Robles was part of an undercover team at Mission Police Station accused of stealing drugs and money from dealers in 2009.
Robles was convicted alongside former Sgt. Ian Furminger in December 2014 after former Officer Reynaldo Vargas pleaded guilty and testified against them. Furminger and Vargas were released in April 2017 and August 2016, respectively.
The FBI probe first began after Public Defender Jeff Adachi released surveillance footage in March 2011 showing another team of plainclothes officers barge into the room of a suspected drug dealer at the Henry Hotel on Sixth Street.
After the verdict, federal prosecutors revealed in court documents during Furminger’s bail hearing that he had exchanged racist and homophobic text messages with other officers in 2011 and 2012. The revelation shocked The City.
“In some ways the scandal improved the police department,” Adachi said Wednesday. “But the racism displayed in the text messages uncovered by the FBI probe still seems to be entrenched in SFPD culture.”
Earlier this month, Adachi held a press conference for a Muslim officer who claimed that he faced retaliation for blowing the whistle on racism and bigotry he experienced in the department since last summer. For instance, the anonymous officer said his colleague had asked whether he knew any “towel heads.”
Former officer Arshad Razzak, one of the officers in the Henry Hotel video, was found guilty in January 2015 of illegally searching the room and writing a false police report. Razzak was sentenced to 14 months in prison in August 2016 and walked free in December 2017.
“The Henry Hotel scandal was significant because of the sheer depth of police misconduct it ultimately unearthed,” Adachi said. “It’s almost become a parable about how infectious corruption becomes when there is no accountability.”
Attorneys for all four of the former officers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story featured an image from a separate video, also released by the Public Defender’s Office, of an alleged illegal search by police at an apartment building in the Richmond District in 2011.