SF cop in text message scandal resigns 

One of the officers involved in a text message scandal among San Francisco cops has resigned, his attorney confirmed Thursday. A 23-year veteran of the Police Department who once appeared on the cover of LGBT magazine The Advocate resigned after it was revealed that he participated in an exchange of racist and homophobic text messages with other cops.

Officer Michael Robison resigned Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Tony Brass, who did not mention the three other active officers caught up in the scandal.

The text messages, revealed Friday in a federal court filing, were sent between 2011 and 2012 by and to former Sgt. Ian Furminger — who was convicted in December in a federal corruption case — and the three other officers still employed by the department. The filing was in response to Furminger’s request for bail while he appeals his conviction. He is due to report to federal authorities April 3 to serve his 41-month sentence. All the active officers were reassigned to positions with no public contact, pending an investigation into their conduct.

Following the revelation of the text messages, the Public Defender’s and District Attorney’s offices are reviewing a decade’s worth of criminal cases — roughly 1,000 — that were possibly “tainted by former Sgt. Furminger and four current officers.” Besides Robison, the other officers are Noel Schwab, Rain Daugherty and Michael Celis.

With more than 20 years under his belt, Robison will receive his pension. Retirement can’t be collected until age 55; Robison is 46.

The resignation, Officer Albie Esparza said, terminates the administrative investigation into Robison since he no longer reports to the police chief. The investigation into the other three officers remains open, Esparza said. The text messages became public after a filing in the criminal case against Furminger. He was convicted in December in federal court on corruption charges related to incidents in 2009 that included theft and violating constitutional rights of suspects.

Former Officer Edmond Robles, who was also represented by Brass and involved in the 2009 incidents, was sentenced Wednesday to 39 months in federal prison.

The filing in the Furminger case was a motion in opposition to Furminger’s request for bail pending an appeal. It did not name the officers who sent or received the emails, but detailed the text messages to illustrate Furminger’s lack of character.

One of the many text messages included a response to a text asking, “Do you celebrate quanza [sic] at your school?” Furminger responded: “Yeah we burn the cross on the field! Then we celebrate Whitemas.” Another text from Furminger started with, “I was trying to be nice to you as everyone knew your gay.” It was followed by, “I love calling you a fag! Good enough.?”

The Police Officers Association union, which would not comment on the resignation Thursday, previously condemned the text messages.

jlamb@sfexaminer.com

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