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San Francisco Prosecutor To Probe Old Cases Over Racist Texts By Police

03/17/2015 12:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 17, 2015
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(Reuters) - San Francisco prosecutors will study all criminal investigations conducted over the past 10 years in light of an inquiry into racist and homophobic text messages allegedly sent by four police officers, District Attorney George Gascón said Monday.

The text messages came to light as part of the corruption case against a fifth officer, whose own text messages were submitted in court last week.

"In order to ensure our criminal justice system is fair and equitable, my office is conducting an immediate assessment of every prosecution within the past 10 years where these officers were involved," Gascón said. "This is a shameful incident that the public deserves to have addressed in a meaningful and expeditious manner."

The four officers, who were not named by the District Attorney's office, were transferred last month to jobs where they would not have contact with the public while the text messages are being investigated, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Their involvement - though not their names - was included in court papers filed Friday in a federal corruption case against Ian Furminger, a former San Francisco Police Sergeant.

In them, Furminger uses racial epithets, bragging that a relative was a slave auctioneer, joking about the Ku Klux Klan.

"Cross burning lowers blood pressure!" Furminger wrote, according to court documents. He also sent texts insulting Latinos, the documents said.

In response, the other officers texted such responses as "White Power," prosecutors said.

Other texts, including jokes about one of the others being gay, were received on officers' phones, prosecutors said. (Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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