San Francisco police officer resigns amid racist text probe

Reuters News
|
Posted: Mar 20, 2015 2:54 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A San Francisco police officer involved in a scandal over racist and homophobic text messages allegedly sent by four officers has resigned, officials said on Thursday.

The San Francisco police department confirmed on Thursday night that Michael Robison had stepped down, but was unable to provide additional details.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Robison, who is a 23-year-veteran and is gay, left the department on Wednesday, citing his attorney Tony Brass.

"He's a gay police officer that joined the most diverse police department in the country," Brass told The Times. "He knows what it's like to be on the wrong end of bigotry, he would never hand that back to anybody ... As a human being, these messages do not represent his world view."

The involvement of the four officers, three of whom have not been officially identified, was revealed in court papers filed last week in a federal corruption case against Ian Furminger, a former San Francisco Police Sergeant.

In them, Furminger uses racial epithets, bragged that a relative was a slave auctioneer, and joked about the Ku Klux Klan.

"Cross burning lowers blood pressure!" Furminger wrote, according to court documents. He also sent texts insulting Latinos, the documents said.

In response, the other officers texted such responses as "White Power," prosecutors said.

Other texts, including jokes about one of the others being gay, were received on officers' phones, prosecutors said.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said on Monday that prosecutors would study all criminal prosecutions involving the officers that had been conducted over the past 10 years in light of the inquiry.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the officers were transferred last month to jobs where they would not have contact with the public while the messages were investigated.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)