Racist, homophobic text transcripts prompt anti-bias training for San Francisco police

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All San Francisco police officers will undergo an anti-bias training, Police Chief Greg Suhr announced Friday after being forced to release nine pages of racist text message transcripts between officers.

Suhr made the transcripts publicly available two days after a former police lieutenant was charged with obstructing a rape investigation involving a former officer. The texts are between those two officers and two more.

“We have nothing to hide,” Suhr said. “These are the actions of a few.”

Additionally, the department is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for the use of force and ethnic disparities in arrests. The federal review comes after the fatal shooting of an African-American man in December. Video of that shooting was posted online.


The messages were released Tuesday by the public defender’s office, which said it is investigating more than 200 arrests where officers’ biases may have been a factor. The messages included derogatory slurs to African-Americans, Latinos and Indians as well as gay and transgender people. An officer calls a black Thanksgiving turkey as a “Ferguson turkey," referring to the shooting of an unarmed man in Missouri in 2014.

This is not the first time San Francisco officers have been caught texting racist and homophobic messages. Last year, transcripts of texts between 14 officers were released, and a judge refused to allow the department to fire some of the officers involved, saying the statute of limitations had expired. Most of those officers remain on the force.