Racist, homophobic messages revealed in SFPD texting scandal

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New details were released Tuesday in the racist text message scandal plaguing the San Francisco police department.
 
The controversy is the result of an investigation into former Officer Jason Lai, who resigned earlier this month. He's been charged with misusing department and DMV databases After searching his personal cell phone, authorities said they found racist and homophobic texts that he sent to other officers. 
 
Watch video from the press conference:

Details of what was written in some of those text messages were released Tuesday morning. 

According San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, some of the texts Lai sent included offensive words to describe many different groups in our community including Mexicans, African Americans, homeless people, and the gay population.
 
 
Adachi says the officers' behavior could impact as many as 207 criminal cases, three of which are murder cases.
 
"It shows a person who very casually makes racist and derogatory comments, talks about injury to the citizens that he is supposed to be serving and, most disturbingly, I think he does it in a way which to him, seems to hold no consequences," Adachi said.
 
The racist and homophobic messages came as the police department has had to battle allegations of systemic racism within its ranks, including a separate scandal last year in which more than a dozen other officers were accused of sending racist text messages.

 At a news conference Tuesday, Police Chief Greg Suhr condemned the text messages, calling them "reprehensible."

"I have the same visceral reaction every single time. It literally makes me sick to my stomach, including today when I had to read them again. And I apologize to the public. We are better than this."

"In many respects we have a history and tradition of progressive politics that has ironically worked against reform, because I think it took a long time for people to recognize that even in San Francisco, we can have the same problems as Ferguson," said San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, referring to the Missouri city where a black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014, sparking a national movement for greater police oversight.

"We think we're above it all," Campos said, "and we're not."

The San Francisco Police Officers' Association issued a statement saying it "strongly and unequivocally condemns this appalling behavior. This disgusting, racist language, by a few officers, is not reflective of the over 2100 members who wear the uniform of the SFPD. The POA has strongly suggested that these three people leave their employment with our department and they have since done so. This conduct will not be tolerated in the SFPD, nor in the POA."

District Attorney George Gascon said investigators were sifting through evidence sent by the Police Department late last year related to Lai's case, including 25,000 pages of text messages, and discovered the bigoted messages by at least four officers.
  
Gascon called the messages "very problematic" and said they included texts from the time when the previous text message scandal was revealed in March 2015.
  
Read the full story here.

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