Texts recovered from a San Francisco police officer's cellphone during a sexual assault investigation last year contained racist messages describing African-Americans as "barbarians" and "wild animals," as well as derogatory descriptions of gay police officers.
Former Officer Jason Lai, who worked out of the department's Taraval Station and resigned earlier this month, also texted racist slurs for Latinos, opined that "Indian ppl are disgusting" and compared an apparent homeless person to a cockroach who "won't die."
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released some of the text messages (read below) Tuesday that were recovered from Lai's cellphone during an SFPD internal affairs investigation. Investigators concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove that Lai raped a woman at her home, as she alleged, but he was charged last month with six misdemeanors for unlawfully possessing and misusing confidential records.
“This is Officer Lai’s mindset," Adachi said at a press conference. "And it shows a person who very casually makes racist and derogatory comments, talks about injury to the citizens that he is supposed to be serving. And most disturbingly, I think he does it in a way which to him seems to hold no consequences.”
Police Department investigators turned over records from Lai's cellphone -- as well as those from former Taraval Station Sgt. Curtis Liu and other officers implicated in the probe -- to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office in November. Prosecutors discovered the offensive texts among 44,000 pages of cellphone records in late March, when District Attorney George Gascón publicly announced their existence.
In the messages Adachi released Tuesday, Lai also joked about “a story I wrote today” as he shared a draft incident report about a rape investigation. In his text message, he referred to the apparent victim as “an idiot.”