After federal prosecutors have revealed homophobic and racist texts between the officers San Francisco police is under fire.
It seems like the incident started when six San Francisco police officers were accused to have stolen from drug dealers. Afterwards the racist text messages were released and what seemed to be a small-time police corruption case turned into a racially charged scandal which threw the diverse and liberal city of San Francisco into the national debate regarding policing in minority communities.
George Gascon, San Francisco District Attorney, said that they are now aware that such things can happen in San Francisco too and the city is not immune to similar problems which recently occurred in Baltimore, South Carolina and Staten Island.
Greg Suhr, San Francisco Police Chief , has taken measure to fire eight police officers. Two of them have retired and the six others will face some sort of discipline. In the meantime the district attorney is looking further into the problem to see whether the racial problems run deeper in the department. Regarding this matter Gascon remarked:
“In the process of looking at the text messages, increasingly I became uneasy that this may not be localized to the 14 officers that were being reported, but that we may have some systemic issues.”
This incident comes at a time when the tensions between police departments and communities of color are growing. Over the last two years large and sometimes even violent protests took place in several cities and the main cause was the way in which police treated black suspects. For example last month three police officers from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) were fired and a fourth one resigned because they had exchanged racist texts about their colleagues and the neighborhood they patrolled which was mainly black.
The news of this incident generated outrage among the community. The San Francisco police departments have not experienced allegations of discrimination ever since 1973 when a group of minority officers known as the Officers of Justice sued the department. When the department of Justice joined the suit the case was settled in 1979 and the San Francisco police department agreed to hire more women and minorities. Today almost half of the sworn officers are minorities.
In a lawsuit filed Monday officer Rain Daugherty confessed that he is deeply ashamed of the texts he wrote and claimed that they do not reflect his strong commitment to the exemplary community policing of the city’s diverse citizens.
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