SAN FRANCISCO—Nine San Francisco Police Department officers involved in a text messaging scandal are on paid leave as a judge decides if the court waited too long in disciplining them. In March, San Francisco News reported that 23-year veteran of the force Michael Robinson resigned amidst allegations that homophobic and racist text messages were exchanged among members of the Special Victims Unit within the department.
There are 13 officers involved in the text message scandal; Police Chief Greg Suhr wants to see seven of them dismissed and six of them suspended. The chief placed these officers on unpaid leave when the texts were first uncovered in March, but in May, Judge Ernst Goldsmith ordered pay be reinstated pending the outcome of the case. The judge’s decision on Monday, June 22 bars the San Francisco Police Commission from disciplining the officers until the lawsuit over their processing has been resolved.
The texts were revealed in March during a court filing, which was part of a corruption investigation concerning former officer Ian Furminger that began in 2012. The nine officers suing the city are arguing that the court should have begun disciplinary proceedings when they first uncovered the inflammatory texts. The lawyers for the department countered that doing so would have compromised the investigation.
The next hearing is set for September.