Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Gay SF officer linked to texting probe quits

Michael Robison on the cover of the Advocate in 1998. (Courtesy Here Media)

Michael Robison on the cover of the Advocate in 1998. (Courtesy Here Media)

The gay San Francisco police officer who allegedly participated in homophobic and racist text message exchanges has quit, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, confirmed today (Friday, March 20).

As reported by the San Francisco Examiner, Michael Robison, who Esparza said had been on the force since 1992, quit Wednesday, March 18.

Robison and his attorney, Tony Brass, haven’t responded to the Bay Area Reporter’s interview requests.

The texts, most of which are race-related, recently came to light in documents filed last week in the federal court case against former police Sergeant Ian Furminger, who was convicted in December of stealing and other crimes.

According to the court filing, in one October 2011 exchange, Furminger wrote to at least one other officer, “I was trying to be nice to you as everyone knows your gay,” and “I love calling you a fag! Good enough?” The documents don’t specify which other officer was on the receiving end of that text.

Brian Getz, Furminger’s attorney, said the messages “express the opposite feeling” of what Furminger “felt, and therein lies the humor as he saw it in sending those messages.” He said the racist, homophobic sentiments expressed in the texts are also contrary to the other officers’ true feelings.

The Examiner reported that Robison is 46. He’ll be eligible to collect his pension at 55.

Esparza said with Robison’s departure, the department’s investigation of officers allegedly involved in the texting scandal is down to three.

Other officers have not yet been included in the probe, said Esparza.

Esparza declined to confirm the names of the officers under investigation, since it involves “personnel matters.” However, the others are reportedly Rain Daugherty, Michael Celis, and Noel Schwab.

The district attorney’s and public defender’s offices are reviewing cases in which the officers were involved.

None of the officers could be reached directly for comment, but Alison Berry Wilkinson, Daugherty’s attorney, said in an email that her client “is appropriately ashamed by his impulsive and insensitive banter, and accepts full responsibility for the content of those text messages that he sent, which are by no means a reflection of his true character or his style of policing.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 20, 2015 @ 4:19 pm PST
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