Five San Francisco police officers and one ex-cop are facing charges of criminal conspiracy for entering residential hotel rooms with a master key and stealing belongings from residents.
The scandal broke Thursday when the indictments were unsealed. Arshad Razzak, 41, Richard Yick, 36, and Raul Eric Elias, 44, officers at the Southern Police Station, have been accused of conspiring to threaten and intimidate residents whose room they entered without a warrant or any other legal justification. Razzak and Yick also face charges of falsifying incident reports, according to federal prosecutors, the San Francisco Gate reports.
Vargas and two other officers, Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, Officer Edmond Robles, 46, have also been charged with “multiple criminal conspiracies.” The officers stole valuables like a $500 Apple gift card, money, marijuana and other drugs, and more from their suspects.
A 2011 probe launched by the FBI and San Francisco police revealed that the three officers had stolen and dealt the marijuana, leading to the discovery of just how far the conspiracy against the hotel residents went.
The officers have all been suspended without pay, except for Vargas, who was fired in 2012. They were all longtime veterans of the force.
When the allegations came to light, San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran urged the public to refrain from judging the officers until their cases had been heard.
"These indictments are apparently based on the questionable testimony of unreliable informant witnesses," Halloran said in a statement. "It is important to remember that the accused officers will have their day in court."
But San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said at a news conference that the situation doesn’t “get any worse than this,” and promised that the department would seek “immediate termination” of any officer found guilty of crimes.
"This is not only a betrayal of the public's trust," he said, "but also a betrayal of all the men and women of the San Francisco Police Department who work hard every day to do what they can to keep San Francisco safe."
Sources: San Francisco Gate