By Jaxon Van Derbeken 3/15/15
The attorney for one of the four San Francisco police officers under investigation for sending racist and homophobic text messages said Sunday her client’s messages, while “wholly unacceptable,” were not reflective of his true attitudes on the job.
Noel Schwab, 49, a 16-year veteran, was reassigned last month from Central Division to the communications division after he was identified as having exchanged some of the text messages with former Sgt. Ian Furminger, who is now facing a 40-month sentence on corruption charges.
Schwab’s attorney, Julia Fox, said Sunday that Schwab “did not intend to malign anyone, generally or specifically.”
“While the alleged comments were certainly bad taste, and wholly unacceptable, they were intended for a specific recipient and were not indicative of any animus that Officer Schwab has toward any group or class.”
Sources said Schwab had told department officials he intended to leave the department amid the scandal, but Fox said that her client has not made up his mind.
“At this point, it is his intention to give a responsible and thoughtful analysis regarding his options,” she said.
Also on Sunday, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said a preliminary analysis shows that Schwab and Celis wrote the police reports in about 120 prosecution cases since 2012, when the last texts were sent. He said those cases will now have to be scrutinized in light of the bias inherent in the messages.
“It can have huge implications because many of the cases involve prosecutions of African Americans,” Adachi said.
He added that he has spoken to the District Attorney George Gascón, who promised to act quickly to review the officers’ role in the scandal and report back on any case where the messages might raise a question of their bias.