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UPDATE: 4/6/2016 3:15 P.M. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sent a second letter to the SFPD following news of another batch of police officers accused of exchanging racist and homophobic text messages with each other last week. In their letter, they acknowledge Chief Greg Suhr’s collaboration with the COPS Office Collaborative Reform initiative, but believe an independent investigation by the Department of Justice should be launched.


The lack of a departmental commitment to accountability is also demonstrated by the ongoing failure of the department to fix its broken Early Intervention System (EIS), even though that was a key recommendation of a 2008 collaborative review report by the nationally respected Police Executives Research Forum (PERF).  EIS is intended to flag problem and potentially problem officers for non-punitive supervisory interventions or counseling.  But recent statistics show that the department does nothing with this information. In 2015, more than 360 officers were flagged – mostly for disproportionate uses of force and/or misconduct – but only 6 (less than 2%) received any supervisory intervention at all.

The SFPD must take concrete steps to attack its problems at the root, not minimize them as isolated incidents and point to a few bad apples. The problems are systemic and must be faced in order to be changed.

Their first letter was sent to the SFPD just weeks after the police shooting of Mario Woods. In December 2015, Woods was shot 20 times by SFPD officers when he refused to put down a knife he was reportedly wielding. His death sparked massive protests and a brief remembrance by Beyoncé’s backup dancers at the 2016 Super Bowl.

So far, the SFPD hasn’t responded to the letter.

Another group of officers from the San Francisco Police Department are under fire for exchanging messages containing the n-word and other racist language in regards to a recent criminal investigation.

Several officers are currently being investigated for their derogatory comments against the LGBT community, as well as their repeated use of the n-word in text messages, SF Gate reports. It hasn’t yet been confirmed if the messages were sent during work hours, but they were sent on the officers’ personal mobile devices.

District Attorney George Gascón said the messages were in regards to the recent sexual assault case involving former officer Jason Lai. Last week, Lai was charged with six misdemeanor counts of misusing police databases, but law enforcement couldn’t find sufficient evidence to support the rape charge against him. During investigation of the officer’s behavior, the messages were recovered.

They haven’t been released to the public. So far, two of the officers have left the force, four have been suspended, and another is facing ramifications for the messages. Police Chief Greg Suhr said they worked quickly to punish the offenders.

Via SF Gate:

“As with any big organization, you’re going to have people who are not as you would have them be,” Suhr said. “As soon as I found out about it, I took swift action. I think all the honorable men and women who serve this department know I give no quarter to this kind of thing.

“The message from the top has been clear,” Suhr said. “This level of intolerance will not be tolerated.”

This is not the first time the San Francisco Police have come under scrutiny for their prejudiced language, points out the site:

The messages are separate from a batch of bigoted texts that were allegedly exchanged in 2012 among 14 additional officers, which emerged last year and contributed to Gascón’s creation of a blue-ribbon panel to investigate systemic bias in the police force.

The earlier messages were discovered by federal authorities looking into allegations that plainclothes San Francisco officers divvied up money found during searches of drug dealers. Those messages — containing racist and antigay remarks calling black people “monkeys” and encouraging the killing of “half-breeds” — forced prosecutors to re-evaluate thousands of cases handled by those officers and dismiss 13.

Gascón later added that not all SFPD officers are guilty of racist behavior, but he believes the officers involved have tarnished the reputation of the entire force.



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