SAN FRANCISCO—Four officers from the San Francisco Police Department were involved in a texting scandal involving homophobic and racist messages.
The officer at the center of the situation is Officer Jason Lai. Internal Affairs investigators found a series of text messages that he had exchanged with three other officers, all while Lai was already under investigation for sexual assault. He was charged just last week for using law enforcement computers to look up confidential DMV records.
Two of the remaining three officers were identified as Officer Keith Ybarreta and Lt. Curtis Liu.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi says his office will be looking into the cases of all of the officers.
“There are these festering views within the San Francisco Police Department, which unfortunately are now coming to light,” said Adachi.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon added, “The language itself is very, very derogatory.”
During an FBI investigation in 2014 of Sgt. Ian Ferminger, officers were discovered exchanging racist texts. The latest text message scandal has raised the concerns of District Attorney Gascon.
“It continues to create this concern that we have that there are deeper problems that need to be addressed,” said Gascon.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr revealed that as soon as the text messages involving Lai were discovered, he suspended the four officers.
“There were text messages of reprehensible, racist, homophobic nature,” said Suhr. One of the four officers involved has since been fired, and another, Lt. Curtis Liu, retired.