REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Former San Francisco Police Officer Jason Lai whose alleged racist and homophobic text messages against Black, Indian, Hispanic and the LGBT communities were recently released to the public.
Lai, a Chinese-American and a six-year veteran on the force, resigned this month.
SFPD Chief Greg Suhr said, “As I have stated, but cannot overstate enough, there is no room in the San Francisco Police Department for anyone who holds these types of hateful and discriminatory views. It is clearly incompatible with the character required of being a police officer.”
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi says the texts is an example of a bigger problem for the police, like the shootings of minorities.
“That’s the kind of mentality that says it’s okay to shoot, it’s okay to kill, it’s okay to arrest,” said Adachi.
Adachi says the texts messages could affect 207 criminal cases Lai was a part of including three murder cases.
This is the second text scandal to hit the department in the last year.
The former involved racial slurs against Filipinos.
Organization director of the San Francisco-based Filipino Community Center Terry Valen says not enough is being done to combat what has he calls an on-going problem within the SFPD.
“In this case Chief Suhr is saying he’s taking swift action but this is a systemic problem that is not being rooted out,” said Valen. “The mayor saying its a few bad apples is a wrong analysis of what’s happening. In our community we have to stay vigilant. All our communities need to stand together against this racism.”
Suhr says by the end of the year, he intends to have the entire police force go through implicit bias training to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.