The San Francisco police officers who exchanged racist and homophobic text messages in 2012 will be allowed to keep their jobs and will not face discipline, a judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled the Police Department waited too long to address the misconduct allegations, ignoring a one-year statute of limitations for any personnel probe, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Goldsmith said he made the ruling because the Peace Officer Bill of Rights, in particular the statute of limitations, exists to protect not just law enforcement, but the public.
The texts were disclosed in a 2014 court filing prosecutors made in the corruption case of former Officer Ian Furminger.
Police Chief Greg Suhr then moved to fire eight officers, two of whom have since retired, and to discipline six others.
Officer Rain Daugherty filed a lawsuit against the city in May, arguing he and the other officers shouldn't be fired because the department obtained the inflammatory texts in December 2012 but didn't start the disciplinary process until two years later.
City attorneys and police officials say they plan to appeal the decision.
"The fact that San Francisco is forced to retain police officers that demonstrated explicit racism will have ramifications for the reputation of the department, the fair administration of justice, and the trust of the community SFPD serves," Dist. Atty. George Gascon said.