On December 21 California Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled in favor of San Francisco cops who had exchanged racist texts, including one in which they described black people as “monkeys.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, various “racist and homophobic texts” sent by several SFPD officers were discovered in 2012, but Police Chief Greg Suhr took no action to terminate the officers until 2015. Judge Goldsmith ruled that Suhr’s attempts to fire the officers took place far outside the “one-year statute of limitations set by the state’s Peace Officer Bill of Rights for any personnel investigation.”
Judge Goldsmith said the statue of limitations is there because “it is not in the public interest to let police misconduct charges languish.” He added, “The public has a right to have accusations against police officers be promptly adjudicated.”
Officers of Justice president Sgt. Yulanda Williams reportedly reacted to the ruling, saying, “For this judge to say he’s thinking of the interest of the public–is the public expected to go on with their business and pretend nothing ever happened? The citizens are still in a situation where they’re questioning whether or not they should embrace law enforcement or fear them. That’s wrong. We need to stop sweeping things under the carpet and deal with it.”
One of the texts that drew criticism described Williams as a “n— bitch.”
In light of Goldsmith’s ruling, the officers get to keep the jobs but city officials said they will appeal Goldsmith’s decision.
The SFPD has its own disciplinary procedures that had been temporarily stayed by Judge Goldsmith earlier this year.
The controversy sparked a public relations effort by the city’s police union to show residents that SFPD officers are not racist. That, in turn, was criticized by Officers for Justice, an offshoot of black officers in the SFPD.
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