SAN FRANCISCO—Police Chief Greg Suhr of the San Francisco Police Department received a letter from District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday, March 30 concerning receipt of information about an internal affairs investigation the SFPD had sent them in late 2015. On Thursday, March 31, Chief Suhr released a statement about the internal affairs investigation.

According to the statement, the information was recovered by the SFPD Internal Affairs Investigators and delivered to the district attorney’s office during an investigation into a sexual assault allegation of an off-duty officer. Part of the criminal investigation in the case involved the SFPD searching the cell-phone records of those involved. Upon searching the cell-phone records, the SFPD uncovered text messages that were sent containing racial and homophobic remarks.

Once found the four officers involved were suspended. Officer Jason Lai has since been charged with six misdemeanor counts of unlawful access and/or use of criminal and motor vehicle data bases. Officer Lai is still facing investigation for violation of SFPD policies. Two other officers have separated from the SFPD, and the fourth officer has an open case pending before the Police Commission and faces discipline up to and including termination.

In the letter from Chief Suhr he says that District Attorney Gascon suggested he had discovered the text messages through his own criminal investigation. Chief Suhr goes on to state the multiple dates where the SFPD sent information on the investigation to the District Attorney’s Office.  Chief Suhr states in his letter, “As I have repeatedly stated publicly, I have no tolerance for discrimination within my department, and I will fully investigate any allegations of racist or homophobic conduct or speech.”

In the statement, he indicates that he wants to assure the public that when the text messages were discovered the SFPD took immediate action by removing the officers from public contact, brought the charges to the Police Commission, and notified the district attorney’s office so they could review the criminal case files. He states that anyone who is capable of such behavior falls below the minimum standard of being a San Francisco Police Officer.

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