SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco’s police chief said Friday that he has ordered that all officers finish an anti-harassment class within the next month amid a racist texting scandal that has rocked the department already dogged by fatal shootings of unarmed minority suspects.
Flanked by religious and minority community leaders at a San Francisco press conference, Chief Greg Suhr also released more transcripts of racist and homophobic text messages first made available to The Associated Press along with inflammatory and inappropriate images found on former officers’ cellphones.
It’s the second texting scandal since 2014 in a department that is attempting to diversify its officers to reflect the San Francisco culture and population. The department of 2,100 was led by an Asian-American woman and a black man before Suhr took over five years ago.
About half the officers are white, roughly reflecting the white population in San Francisco. Asians make up a third of the city population, but account for about 16 percent of the officers. Close to 9 percent of its officers are black, exceeding a city population of 6 percent,
Suhr says he has no plans to resign and Mayor Ed Lee says he supports the chief.
Lee sent an email letter to the entire department of nearly 2,100 officers Thursday night calling on them to report colleagues who display intolerant behavior.
Suhr said Friday that two officers turned in by colleagues for suspected overtime abuse and unauthorized access of driving records are being investigated by the district attorney for possible criminal charges.
“I support Chief Suhr,” said the Rev. Amos Brown, president of San Francisco’s NAACP chapter.
Investigators say they found the text messages on the personal phones of the officers during criminal probes of former officer Jason Lai and retired Lt. Curtis Liu.