Eight San Francisco police officers implicated in sending and receiving racist and homophobic text messages have been suspended and are expected to be fired, according to news reports.
Addressing reporters Friday, Police Chief Greg Suhr called the text messages “reprehensible,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“There were eight standing officers who engaged in such repulsive conversations via text messages,” Suhr said, according to the Chronicle. “I have suspended them and they have been referred to the Police Commission with a recommendation of only termination — as it should be. Their conduct is incompatible with that of a police officer.”
The ugly messages, which were discovered during a federal corruption probe, implicated a captain, a sergeant and six other officers, according the Chronicle.
Officials told the paper that three of the eight officers have already either resigned or informed police they plan to resign.
“I imagine more of them, if not all of them, are considering the same thing,” Suhr said, according to the Chronicle.
Authorities said the messages included offensive comments about homosexuals, Mexicans and Filipinos and were sent or received by as many as 14 officers in the department between 2011 and 2012, according to the New York Times. The officers involved in the scandal had been on the force for up to 23 years and several had worked in predominantly minority neighborhoods, according to the Times.
In a city known for celebrating its inclusiveness and diversity, as well as being home to a large gay and lesbian population, the discovery has raised fears that the officers may have abused their authority in the past.
District Attorney George Gascon said his office plans to review any cases over the past decade that were linked to the implicated officers, according to the AP. He said the review could include more than 1,000 cases in which an officer wrote a report, submitted evidence or testified in court.
Public defender Jeff Adachi, whose office is involved in the review, told the Chronicle he recommends the officers undergo 25 hours of racial bias training.
“The characterization of these hateful statements as innocent banter is dead wrong,” Adachi said. “This casual dehumanization leads to real life suffering and injustice. It foments a toxic environment in which citizens fear and distrust the police, brutality reigns, and good officers are less effective.”