Seven officers suspended in San Francisco accused of sending racist texts that referred to lynching and burning crosses

Some of the officers had been working for at least 20 years in minority areas

Seven police officers have been suspended in San Francisco accused of sending racist and homophobic text messages.

Police Chief Greg Suhr also announced that he has asked a police oversight committee to fire the officers in question.

Six others face disciplinary actions including reassignment to positions that don’t have contact with the public and another officer tied to the investigation has already resigned.

In a statement Suhr said that the messages “are of such despicable thinking that those responsible clearly fall below the minimum standards required to be a police officer.”

Authorities say that the texts, which targeted blacks, Mexicans, Filipinos and gay men were sent between 2011 and 2012.

They were uncovered by federal authorities investigating a former police sergeant, who was convicted of corruption and sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Lawyers for the officers deny that the texts represent their client’s true opinions, but were simply naïve banter that had helped them cope with stressful jobs.

According to USA Today, they contained references to lynching black people and burning crosses.

One apparently just said: “White power.”

Others, as reported by News.mic, included:

"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!"

"All n****rs must f****ng hang"

"I hate to tell you this but my wife friend is over with their kids and her husband is black."

The officers embroiled in the scandal have reportedly been on the fore as long as 23 years and several had worked in minority neighbourhoods.

City leaders have raised concerns that any prejudice by the officers could have led to unfair treatment, particularly in cases involving black defendants.

District Attorney George Gascon said that his office would be reviewing all cases that were linked to the officers in question over the last ten years.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association earlier issued a statement the actions of the officers were in no way emblematic of the individuals it represents.

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