San Francisco Investigates Cases Due to Texts By And With A Convicted Officer

Ian Furminger

Ian Furminger

Ian Furminger was a Sergeant who worked in a plainclothes unit of the San Francisco police department. Furminger was convicted of four of seven counts that included stealing money and drugs from drug dealers and other corrupt acts. On February 23, 2015, Federal judge Charles Breyer sentenced Furminger to the maximum sentence of 41 months in federal prison and a $25,000 fine.

Before reading the sentence, Judge Breyer stated:

“We all rely every day that the police will be honest, fair.”

Furminger was one of three officers prosecuted. His co-defendant, former officer Edmond Robles, was found guilty on five counts related to conspiracy to sell drugs, extortion and theft. Reynaldo Vargas pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution against Furminger and Robles. The trio worked together. Among their crimes, they searched houses and hotel rooms without warrants. In one incident, the 3 officers took $30,000 from a heroin dealer’s house and split the case, allowing Robles to purchase an expensive Belgian road bike. Furminger purchased new skylights.

Furminger filed a motion for bail pending appeal, and that is where things get interesting.

Federal prosecutors filed an opposition and in the document, released dozens of racist and homophobic texts. Furminger is now at the center of a San Francisco Police Department texting scandal. The text messages are graphic and offensive. One text asked “Do you celebrate Kwanza at your school?” The response was “Yeah. We burn the cross on the field. Then we celebrate whitemas.”

Another text said:

“The buffalo soldier was why the Indians Wouldnt (sic) shoot the niggers that found for the Confederate. (sic) They thought they were sacred buffalo and not human.”

The text messages involved Furminger and four other officers who have been reassigned to units with no public contact while the department investigates. One of the four includes a Captain.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi believes that some cases will be dismissed because of the texting scandal. At a news conference Tuesday, Adachi said his office is going review 10 years of cases. So far they’ve gone through 2 and a half years and found 120 cases involving two of the officers.  Adachi is looking into the officers’ accounts of what happened during investigations.

“It’s highly unlikely, I think, a judge would not believe that an officer who made these kind of statements or engaged in this kind of banter would not be biased in his perceptions,” “No prosecutor is gonna want to put them on the stand. Those cases are likely going to be dismissed.” Adachi said.

Below the video is the opposition filed by federal prosecutors that contain the text messages. Some might find the language offensive and vulgar. If you want to download it in pdf, click here.

 

 

 

Posted on 03/18/2015, in Cases, Cops Gone Wild and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

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  2. Once again. racism in it’s worst form raises it’s ugly head. Reading the text’s is utterly sickening, but again. no hate is involved……..right, have I told everyone lately I’m the greatest basketball player that ever lived ???

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  3. I am relieved that these texts saw the light of day especially if there may be people in jail who were set up because of these racist cops. How can anyone take their word for anything when they have been charged with felonies? There are probably a few inmates who will get some relief.

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    • Hey Gronda! The video of Furminger’s media interview is on a site that does not allow embedding, and I’m waiting to see if it will eventually make it to Youtube. In it, Furminger wants people to believe that the texts were just fun — nothing racist about them. He says that they don’t represent him as person, and he went off on the diatribe of attending school with Blacks and having Black friends.

      What Furminger, and many like him and who believe him don’t understand, is that in America, there were Whites who owned slaves of African descent, and those slave owners did not consider themselves to be racial bigots either. They have a problem understanding that ideologies of racial superiority play into what they determine as equality and that is the foundation of what is today termed as “racist.” Their ideology is rooted in a belief that those of other races are only good when submissive; passive — never equal. When those with that mindset have positions of authority such as in law enforcement, there is an impact that carries forth into entire communities, cities, states, and the country.

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      • The texts speak for themselves.

        I have come across unfortunately too often, people who say things like President Obama is a Muslim etc. etc. When I call them on their racist comments and hate speech, their answer always is, “I am not racist” and “I don’t hate President Obama.” I have to explain that their words betray what they are feeling in their heart and that they need to think about how their words affect others.

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        • Gronda, what I find interesting about the “Obama is a Muslim” thing is that, didn’t Hillary and Sarah both make a big deal out of Obama attending Rev. Wright’s Christian church? They said that he was mentored by Rev. Wright. That would mean that Obama is a Muslim who was mentored by a Christian. They couldn’t make up their hypocritical minds.

          At the same time, our constitution provides for freedom of religion. Voters who believe in such freedom heard and hear the hypocrisy in arguments concerning the religious beliefs of candidates.

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          • This has nothing to do with logic. This is the face of racism or prejudice. This is why I call it when I hear it. Too often peoples will resort to any ploy which will cover up their real feeling. They want to be acceptable to others. However, when they make comments like our President is Muslim, that he does not love this country, that he is not a U.S. citizen; that he was born in Kenya; that he is a subversive; that he really wants to destroy this country; that he is acting like an emperor and overreaching in exerting his powers; make no mistake by thinking that these peoples are not suffering from racism or prejudice.

            In the past, to overcome the comment that President Obama is Muslim, I mention that I am an avid C-Span viewer and that I have personally seen him at a National Prayer Day service where he stated that he has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into his life. I explain that I am not God and so I do not have the power to questions someone’s walk with Him. This usually stops most people cold in their tracks.

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            • Gronda,
              About the purported Kenya birth, it just goes to show how ignorant Americans are of our constitution. Barack Obama’s mom was a United States citizen. He could have been born on an Air France plane that just landed in China, and he would still be a U.S. citizen because his mom was one.

              The false claims folks must be motivated by something other than politics. I’ll take your word for their motivation.

              I explain that I am not God and so I do not have the power to questions someone’s walk with Him. This usually stops most people cold in their tracks.

              Good for you and thanks for passing on that wisdom.

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          • Xena , You are right on regarding those who comment that our president was born in Kenya but again logic and facts do not seem to want to infiltrate into some closed minds.

            To this kind of issue, I usually comment along the lines that my Mom was born and raised in Italy; I have lived for long periods of time in Italy, Belgium and Germany but my Dad was in the U.S. military as a U.S. citizen. Guess what? I have a U.S. passport to verify that I am a U.S. citizen even though I was born in Germany.

            The answer is simple. Because Barack Obama’s Mom is a U.S. citizen then so is he and all the talk about birth certificates or where he may have lived means nothing. I then advise someone like this to think about what they say or they belie their racist feelings. Of course , I get denials on this. I explain that those who bear false witness, spread gossip and slander are revealing something ugly in their hearts and that I cannot participate in this type of talk.

            Incidentally, I do not face this often because anyone who knows me well enough, know better than to go there. I will stand my ground in a firm but reasonable way.

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            • Gronda, your comment took me back to 2008 during the presidential campaign when it was revealed that John McCain was born in Panama because his military dad was stationed there. But Panama does not sound as uncivilized and “savage” as Kenya.

              In 2008, someone came up with a video that was suppose to be Barack Obama’s grandmother and the interpretation was that she saw Barack Obama being born in Kenya. I laughed, because of course, she gave birth to Barack Obama, who subsequently fathered Barack Obama Jr. who is now president of the U.S. In other words, the person who did the video omitted that President Obama’s father had the same name.

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      • Xena, I heard on TV ( while I was on phone) that 3 Ft Lauderdale police officers have been summarily dismissed and one resigned. It seems an ex girlfriend came forward to divulge a video making SAE look like choir boys. I was watching MSNBC Al Sharpton. You may want to blog on this.

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  4. This is terrible news, but GREAT news. WOW!

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  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    I think this tweet from a Ferguson protester is on topic on this page:

    deray mckesson @deray · 1m 1 minute ago
    “We protest not to affirm the worth of our lives, but to expose the depth of the evil we face.”

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    • Yahtzee,
      The same motivations were shown during the Civil Rights Movement, and then like now, there were people who applied their own wrongful perceptions upon the demonstrators. Unlike now, the people then did not feel the need to have to always defend themselves. The opposition was on the street — not computers. I admire the way that Deray and others set the opposition straight, but wish they did not have to do it. If what the demonstrators want and where they want it has no effect on the opposition, then the opposition should shut up.

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  6. crustyolemothman

    How do the various law enforcement agencies regain (or in some cases establish) trust by the people they serve? Is there actually a solution that is truly workable? Is unequal enforcement amongst various groups (as some have suggested) a solution or merely a band aid? When we have a situation where the highest law enforcement agency in the nation is unable to actually tell us a realistic figure on how many people have been killed in the arrest process, how can they be entrusted to fairly treat all citizens of this nation? Are we doomed to fail as a nation because we can not (or perhaps refuse) to take steps to ensure that all people are treated equally and no person is given a pass for a criminal act due to that persons race, gender or sexual orientation? It seems that too often we seek only to solve problems that involve us and ignore the problems that others face. Perhaps if we would spend more time actually looking at problems with out prejudice on our part, we would realize that we can make a difference in not only our own lives but the lives of our fellow citizens as well.

    Here is a link to a recent article that tells of the problems with establishing the truthful numbers for police involved deaths, but IMO it offers information, but no real solution…

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/the-uncounted-why-the-us-cant-keep-track-of-people-killed-by-police/ar-BBimyX6?ocid=mailsignout

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    • crustyolemothman

      I think this site has been mentioned here before, but it can’t hurt to post the link to it again. I can not vouch for the accuracy of the numbers, but I will give the folks that compiled the numbers credit for the attempt that they have made.

      http://killedbypolice.net/

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    • Mothman,

      How do the various law enforcement agencies regain (or in some cases establish) trust by the people they serve? Is there actually a solution that is truly workable?

      Million dollar questions. There are professions that are necessary. They come with a badge, or a license, or certifications. People respect and trust the showing of the profession, which pretty much removes the impression of individuality. When anyone in a profession does wrong, it impugns the profession. For instance, there are ministers, pastors and priests who have done horrible things, and their actions have impugned religion.

      The bottom line is that people are people, and their motivations to be a member of certain professions vary. As long as our trust in in people, we will be disappointed. People have their own prejudices. Take for instance a social worker who works in the field and who doesn’t like the smell of curry. If that social worker visits a house and smells curry, what comes to his/her mind? The food, or the people who cook with curry? If the people, then even without the smell of curry, will that social worker be unbiased in performing his/her job?

      To say it another way, people associate things with certain people and that effects how they perform their job.

      As far as police involved deaths, we will never get exact figures because some of those whose deaths are caused by police do not have family capable of making it known, nor the resources to pursue further investigation. Depending on their jurisdiction, they are at the mercy of inquests or police investigating police which gets them no where. The system sends people in vicious circles.

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  7. yeseventhistoowillpass

    Those guys are just the tip my friend. The cops used to call Hunters Point Hill where low incone housing is… _ Island..

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    • Hey Juan. Don’t make me guess the word that fills in the blank. I suppose that in order for the roaches to come out, the light has to be turned on. The more people advocate for equality, peace, and respect for everyone, the more roaches come out of the woodwork.

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      • yeseventhistoowillpass

        Racism is rappent in the sfpd, my ex’s brother was on vice squad and he routinely said some pretty miserable things..

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  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    deray mckesson retweeted
    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 27m 27 minutes ago

    “Be realistic.

    We must only know about a very tiny sliver of the racism in police departments. Imagine the emails being deleted nationwide.”

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