SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco police officer has been fired for exchanging anti-Muslim text messages, a lawyer familiar with the case said Tuesday.
Inappropriate text messages were found during the investigation of a sexual assault involving colleagues working in the same station, according to lawyer Tony Brass. The officers’ phones were searched as part of that investigation, he said.
Brass represents retired Lt. Curtis Liu, who has pleaded not guilty to lying to detectives investigating a rape claim made against officer Jason Lai. Liu retired and Lai resigned last year amid the sexual assault investigation. Lai has not been charged with any sex crimes and has pleaded not guilty to illegally accessing criminal background databases.
During that investigation, detectives discovered several officers exchanging racist and inappropriate text messages with Lai.
Brass declined to identify the recently dismissed officer accused of slurring Muslims.
Police Commission President Julius Turman on Tuesday confirmed an officer was fired in February for bias. Turman declined to disclose the officer’s name or provide more details, citing police personnel rules.
Brass said the officer was fired despite apologizing and working with several Muslim groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, including volunteering as a security guard for an Islamic organization.
“The department appears to have adopted a zero-tolerance policy and there’s no chance for rehabilitation,” Brass said.
Turman said the commission adopted Chief William Scott’s recommendation for dismissal. Scott was recently hired to take over a department reeling from two texting scandals and a series of fatal shootings of unarmed minority suspects.
Turman said the new chief and newly constituted commission have increased the number of officers dismissed for misconduct.
In addition to the officers implicated in the most recent texting scandal, several others were swept up in a previous controversy over the exchange of racist, homophobic and derogatory text messages.
Former police Chief Greg Suhr tried and failed to fire six officers implicated in the initial scandal after a judge ruled that he waited too late to start disciplinary proceedings.
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