A group of San Francisco police officers who exchanged text messages peppered with racist, homophobic, sexist and other bigoted language have racked up more than $2 million in pay since a Superior Court judge ordered them back on the city's payroll in 2015, according to the deputy city attorney who argued an appeal of that ruling on Wednesday.
Some of the 14 officers implicated in a search of convicted former SFPD Sgt. Ian Furminger's cellphone resigned in the days following the publication of some of the texts in a March 2015 federal court filing.
But nine officers -- backed by their union and led by named plaintiff Rain Daugherty -- challenged the Police Department's move to discipline them. The department, their attorneys argued in court, blew through the state's one-year statute of limitations for responding to police misconduct by failing to act on the offending text messages for approximately three years while a federal investigation of Furminger ran its course.
"The law in our reading of it doesn’t prevent anything that the city did," Deputy City Attorney Kenneth Walczak said in an interview Tuesday as he prepared to argue San Francisco's position before the state's 1st District Court of Appeal.
"The Superior Court was wrong here because it started that clock without accounting for the criminal investigation that led the department to discover the racist texts."