Officer in racist texts scandal resigns

One of four officers being investigated by the San Francisco Police Department for allegedly racist text messages has resigned, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Officer Michael Robison resigned on Wednesday, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. Esparza said that because the investigation is an internal administrative proceeding, the probe of Robison has ended as a result of his resignation. The investigation would be revived if Robison ever applied to return to the police force, he said.

The existence of the allegedly racist and homophobic messages was made public in a brief filed in federal court last week by prosecutors in the case of former Sgt. Ian Furminger, who was convicted in December of four felonies in a scheme to steal money and property seized from drug suspects. Furminger, who resigned after being convicted, is due to begin serving a prison sentence of three years and five months on April 3.

The federal prosecutors’ filing gave several examples of offensive messages allegedly exchanged between Furminger and unnamed officers on their personal cellphones in 2011 and 2012. The Police Department confirmed on Monday that four officers were being investigated and Chief Greg Suhr said he will ask the Police Commission to fire any who are found to be biased.

Although Robison and the other three officers have not been named by the department, their lawyers have confirmed their identities. The other three are Michael Celis, Rain Daugherty and Noel Schwab. During the probe, they have been reassigned to work in which they do not have contact with the public.

Esparza said the remaining three officers are the only members of the police force currently being investigated. He said text messages of some other officers were looked at, but the messages were “deemed not inappropriate.” Robison’s attorney Anthony Brass was not immediately available for comment.