Report reveals racist texts sent by SFPD officer

WARNING: The following story contains offensive language and may not be suitable for all audiences.

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A San Francisco police officer is accused of sending racist and homophobic text messages and now those messages have been released.

CNN has exclusively obtained a list of the offensive text messages allegedly sent to and from former officer Jason Lai.

Some of the text messages also include:

  • “I hate that beaner, but I think the nig is worse.”
  • “Indian ppl are disgusting.”
  • “Burn down walgreens and kill the bums.”

A statement from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office states: “In the messages, which are rife with racial and sexual slurs, Lai compares black people to ‘barbarians’ and ‘a pack of wild animals on the loose.’ He also allegedly used  a Cantonese slur for blacks. Lai states: ‘Bunch of hock gwais shooting each other. Too bad none of them died. One less to worry about.”

The texts were found by accident. Investigators discovered the texts on his phone after he was accused of sexual assault.

Lai, who was with the department for six years, resigned from the department earlier this month, according to a police spokesman.

Lai was one of five officers who were recently accused of sending racist and homophobic texts. Four officers were immediately suspended as soon as police were made aware of the messages. Two of those officers have left the department.

This isn’t the first time SFPD has been faced with a similar scandal. 14 other officers were accused of sending offensive texts between 2011 and 2012, according to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.


Lai’s attorney Don Nobles commented that the texts were “not reflective of who he is” and that “there is no evidence he carried out any of those sentiments as an officer.”

“He was well liked and well loved on his beat,” he told CNN.

The texts, which were all sent and received in 2014 and 2015, were taken from Lai’s personal cell phone. The conversations were between him and some of his closest friends on the police force, as well as with people he had befriended while working.

“They’re all drug dealers in the TL,” his text stated. TL referred to San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

In the texts, he made offensive remarks about blacks, Hispanics and Indians, and used coded language to talk about gay officers. He also makes a disparaging joke about President Obama and says he hates basketball player LeBron James.

“F— that nig,” he says about James.

Lai has since been charged with multiple misdemeanor counts of illegally accessing DMV computers for a non-official purpose. He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 3rd.

Lai will not be charged for the alleged sexual assault due to insufficient evidence.

Martin Halloran, the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, has issued the following statement on the text messages.

“These racist text messages turn my stomach. The officers involved in this have disgraced our profession and they must be held accountable.

“Our union celebrates representing the most diverse body of police officers in the nation. These individuals have no place in our ranks.

“The San Francisco Police Officers’ Association strongly and unequivocally condemns this appalling behavior. This disgusting, racist language, by a few officers, is not reflective of the over 2100 members who wear the uniform of the SFPD.

“The POA has strongly suggested that these three people leave their employment with our department and they have since done so. This conduct will not be tolerated in the SFPD, nor in the POA.”

And San Francisco police have issued this statement:

Mayor Ed Lee also condemned the text messages, stating on Twitter that he was “outraged & disappointed” with the “ignorant, hate-filled texts.”

“This will never be tolerated in SF,” he wrote, promising that reforms were underway in the police department.


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