Former San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Sergeant Ian Furminger, who was convicted in federal court on separate corruption charges, exchanged violently racist text messages with four fellow police officers, in which he calls for the lynching and spaying of all black Americans, whom he refers to as “monkeys,” “savages,” and “animals.”
All of the five cops involved were longtime SFPD veterans. Furminger worked for the department for 20 years, and is now facing a three-year prison sentence for “a scheme to steal money and property seized during searches and arrests in 2009.” As for the other four officers, Noel Schwab, 49, worked for the department for 16 years; Michael Robinson, 46, worked for the SFPD for 23 years; Michael Celis, 47, worked for 16 years; and Rain Daugherty, 40, for 15 years. At least two had faced disciplinary action in the past, yet still served on the force for 15 years or more.
The text messages released in the official legal report consisted of the following:
- “We got two blacks at my boys [sic] school and they are brother and sister! There cause dad works for the school district and I am watching them like hawks.”
- In response to a text asking “Do you celebrate quanza [sic] at your school?” Furminger wrote: “Yeah we burn the cross on the field! Then we celebrate Whitemas.”
- “Its [sic] worth every penny to live here [Walnut Creek] away from the savages.”
- “Those guys are pretty stupid! Ask some dumb *ss questions you would expect from a black rookie! Sorry if they are your buddies!”
- “The buffalo soldier was why the Indians Wouldnt [sic] shoot the ni**ers that found for the confederate They [sic] thought they were sacred buffalo and not human.”
- “Gunther Furminger was a famous slave auctioneer.”
- “My wife has 2 friends over that don’t know each other the cool one says to me get me a drink ni**er not knowing the other is married to one just happened right now LMFAO.”
- “White power.”
- In response to a text saying “Ni**ers should be spayed,” Furminger wrote “I saw one an hour ago with 4 kids.”
- “I am leaving it like it is, painting KKK on the sides and calling it a day!”
- “Cross burning lowers blood pressure! I did the test myself!”
- In response to a text saying “All ni**ers must fucking hang,” Furminger wrote “Ask my 6 year old what he thinks about Obama.”
- In response to a text saying “Just boarded train at Mission/16th,” Furminger wrote “Ok, just watch out for BM’s” [black males].
- “I hate to tell you this but my wife friend [sic] is over with their kids and her husband is black! If [sic] is an Attorney but should I be worried?” Furminger’s friend, an SFPD officer, responded: “Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its [sic] not against the law to put an animal down.” Furminger responded, “Well said!”
- In response to a text from another SFPD officer regarding the promotion of a black officer to sergeant, Furminger wrote: “Fuckin ni**er.”
The document also notes that Sgt. Furminger “drinks constantly throughout the day,” and “was ‘buzzed’ during his interview with the Probation Officer.” Moreover, it indicates that he “does not currently pay child support” and “has a history of withholding child support payments.”
San Francisco’s population is only 6% black, but black Americans are 700% more likely to be arrested than white Americans, according to a 2012 California Department of Justice report.
Not an Isolated Case, by Any Means
A US Department of Justice report on systemic racial bias in the police department and local courts in and around Ferguson, Missouri also found similar examples of racist emails, against not just black Americans but also against Muslims.
In September 2014, a 15-year veteran cop in Louisiana resigned after it was revealed he had sent text similar text messages
- revealing he wanted to “pull a Ferguson” (that is to say, kill black Americans, in reference to the killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014 by officer Darren Wilson),
- referring to black Americans as a “bunch of monkeys,” and
- admitting “I enjoy arresting those thugs with their saggy pants.”
In December 2014, two police officers in Ohio, including 19-year veteran and captain, were suspended after their violently racist text messages were released. Some of the messages included:
- “What do apples and black people have in common? They both hang from trees.”
- “I hate ni**ers. That is all,” to which the other officer replied “Awesome.”
- A cop threatened to stab a black person at a local bar, calling him a “c**n.”
In an interview with Brave New Films, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent also revealed that he was told not to enforce drug laws in rich white areas.
These problems are clearly widespread, throughout the US police force, testifying to the veracity of the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union that “the DOJ Ferguson report isn’t just an indictment of Ferguson police, but of American policing writ large.”