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San Francisco police officer linked to racist texting scandal pleads guilty to robbing banks

San Francisco police Officer Rain Daugherty pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery on Thursday
San Francisco Police Officer Rain Daugherty pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery on Thursday, officials said.
(San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office)

A San Francisco police officer who came under scrutiny in 2015 for his role in a racist and homophobic texting scandal in the department admitted robbing two banks in the city last year.

Rain Daugherty, 44, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to two counts of bank robbery as part of a negotiated deal with prosecutors. Daugherty originally faced four counts in connection with the bank robberies. However, he agreed to plead guilty to two of the charges in exchange for prosecutors dropping the remaining charges, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Federal authorities say Daugherty, who is on unpaid leave from the San Francisco Police Department, robbed an East West Bank on Irving Street in San Francisco on Nov. 29.

Daugherty was identified by a bank teller and surveillance video, and later by San Francisco internal affairs officers, as the man who entered the bank wearing a plaid shirt and a baseball cap and handed a teller a note demanding $50 and $100 bills, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

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FBI agent Gary Grzymala wrote in the affidavit that “the robber said something to the effect of ‘Calm down, just do it,’” to the teller. He fled with about $9,050 in cash.

Daugherty is scheduled for sentencing on May 9. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

He still faces a felony count of theft and four misdemeanor drug possession charges in San Mateo County based on allegations that he stole roughly $24,000 from an elderly man with dementia over the course of three months in 2017, according to prosecutors and court records.

In that case, Daugherty met the man, who is in his mid-70s, through the man’s neighbor, who was helping him run errands. The neighbor was having surgery and suggested that Daugherty, whom he knew from high school, take over helping the man, according court records.

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When another friend of the elderly man reviewed his financial records he noticed that his ATM card had been used more than 30 times to make withdrawals between September and December 2017. Prosecutors allege they have video footage of Daugherty pulling money out of the man’s account from various ATMs without permission.

While executing a search warrant at Daugherty’s home, authorities said they found cocaine and prescription narcotics. If convicted, he faces up to five years behind bars, prosecutors said.

Daugherty is one of nine current and former officers whose text messages were discovered by federal agents in 2012 during a corruption investigation of a department sergeant. The messages were made public in a court filing several years later.

In the messages, several officers referred to minorities as “savages,” used the N-word to refer to African Americans and suggested they be spayed like animals, and used an epithet for homosexuals. Other text messages insulted Filipinos and Mexicans.

Then-Chief of Police Gregory Suhr filed disciplinary charges with the police commission against several of the officers in 2015.

In response, Daugherty filed papers in superior court asking a judge to block the department from moving forward with his discipline. He argued the charges were filed after a one-year statute of limitations. A superior court judge granted his request, but the decision was overturned by a state appeals court in May 2018.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @Hannahnfry

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