Ian Furminger, a former sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department, is currently trying to appeal a conviction on federal corruption charges. However, in the motion by the prosecution to deny him bail, a slew of vile texts exchanged between Furminger and four other cops from 2011 to 2012 were presented that paint him and his colleagues as serious bigots. Now the department’s internal affairs unit is looking back through ten years of cases in which Furminger and as many as ten other cops were involved on suspicion of bias.
In an interview with the local ABC affiliate, Furminger tried to defend himself as someone who was not a bigot and could get “1,000 people” who would speak to that. He also said that the texts he exchanged with his fellow cops were “supposed to be funny” if only they hadn’t gotten out to the public. You can determine for yourself, in private, how hilarious these “reactions to political correctness” are:
In response to a text asking “Do you celebrate quanza [sic] at your school?” Furminger wrote: “Yeah we burn the cross on the field! Then we celebrate Whitemas.”
“Its [sic] worth every penny to live here [Walnut Creek] away from the savages.” …
“The buffalo soldier was why the Indians Wouldnt [sic] shoot the n*ggers that found for the confederate They [sic] thought they were sacred buffalo and not human.” …
“My wife has 2 friends over that don’t know each other the cool one says to me get me a drink n*gger not knowing the other is married to one just happened right now LMFAO.”
In response to a text saying “N*ggers should be spayed,” Furminger wrote “I saw one an hour ago with 4 kids.”
“I am leaving it like it is, painting KKK on the sides and calling it a day!”
“Cross burning lowers blood pressure! I did the test myself!”
In response to a text saying “All n*ggers must f*cking hang,” Furminger wrote “Ask my 6 year old what he thinks about Obama.” …
“I hate to tell you this but my wife friend [sic] is over with their kids and her husband is black! If [sic] is an Attorney but should I be worried?” Furminger’s friend, an SFPD officer, responded: “Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its [sic] not against the law to put an animal down.” Furminger responded, “Well said!”
In response to a text from another SFPD officer regarding the promotion of a black officer to sergeant, Furminger wrote: “F*ckin n*gger.”
See? Jokes! Innocent jokes about white supremacist vandalism and lynching! If I may play devil’s advocate, Furminger isn’t responsible for suggesting such activities in these texts; he’s merely affirming that those activities would be a swell idea. However, when you, yourself, are discussing the soothing effects of cross-burning as well as treating it like a cherished holiday custom… and also saying “White Power,” things are looking, well, not great for you.
I think Mr. Furminger could use a real lesson in humor, because if these qualify as jokes to him, he is very confused about what jokes are supposed to be. And another class in remedial grammar and spelling wouldn’t hurt.
As for the four other cops who were sending these texts — Michael Robison, Noel Schwab, Rain Daugherty, and Michael Celis — they are currently on desk duty. It’s interesting to note that homophobic texts were also found, but were not cited in the official government motion. But the reason I mention it is because one of those cops, Michael Robison, is openly gay and was actually on the cover of Advocate proclaiming that “[t]he ‘good ole boy’ system is on its way out, and the new generation that has replaced them sees things from a more open-minded standpoint.”
Maybe not quite yet.