At least four San Francisco police officers have been sharing bigoted text messages with each other, including slurs against racial minorities and the LGBT community.
The city's district attorney, George Gascon, confirmed that the messages were discovered during a sexual assault prove against officer Jason Lai, according to media reports.
Lai was one of the officers involved in sharing the messages, and another was Lieutenant Curtis Liu, who resigned after being accused of blocking the sexual assault investigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The news comes less than a year after it emerged that 14 officers shared racist and homophobic messages in 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle notes.
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“This indicates some significant and deeper problems within the department,” Gascon said of the latest revelations, according to The New York Times. “This conduct is clearly a danger to the administration of justice and makes the work of San Francisco police more difficult.”
A review of all criminal cases involving the officers throughout the past 10 years is underway.
“We know that there will be cases that will be in jeopardy,” Gascon added.
The four officers involved had either left the force or would face termination proceedings, according to San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.
“Certainly to have officers like this among the fine men and women in the department is disconcerting, but we will root them out,” Suhr added.
Gascon differed with Suhr, saying five officers were implicated.
He stated that there were dozens of messages in which “the use of the n-word is very prevalent,” adding that the messages were "not a slip of the tongue,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association, said his organization “condemns the appalling racist behavior committed by a handful of officers,” The New York Times reports.
Yulanda Williams, president of Officers for Justice, a black officers’ association told the San Francisco Chronicle that "there seems to be some underlying issues that have still not been addressed."
"I would never assume that every member of the San Francisco Police Department is involved because that would be the furthest thing from the truth," Williams said. "But for those of us who do not engage in this type of activity, it’s extremely hurtful and it’s extremely embarrassing. And it’s got to end.”
The department is already facing a federal investigation for the Dec. 2, 2015, fatal shooting death of a black man, Mario Woods. Five officers were caught on camera firing 15 times at Woods.