Noel Schwab has been identified as one of four San Francisco police officers accused of exchanging racist and homophobic texts with disgraced cop Ian Furminger.
The text messages were revealed to the public by the federal prosecutors in a court document related to Furminger’s request for bail pending the appeal of his conviction on corruption charges.
The other officers have been identified as Michael Robison, Michael Celis and Rain Daugherty. All four officers were transferred to positions where they don’t have contact with the public, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Schwab, 49, is a 16-year veteran of the force who worked in the same district as Furminger. He has been transferred to the department’s communications division while an investigation is completed, according to the Chronicle. The investigation is expected to take about a month.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Video of Schwab Arresting a Skateboarder Went Viral in 2009
Schwab became the star of a viral video in 2009 after telling a skateboarder he would break his arm “like a twig” if he resisted arrest.
The skateboarder, Zach Stow, was cited for violating the city’s ordinance that bans skateboarding and arrested after he failed to show identification, according to the Chronicle report from 2009.
The incident escalated after Stow told the officer he was “pissed” because Schwab was “being a f***ing d**k.” Schwab can then be seen lifting Stow off the ground. As Schwab starts to handcuff Stow, the skateboarder says Schwab “you don’t have to f***ing put me in pain dude.” Schwab then replies that if Stow resists arrest again, “I’m going to break your arm like a twig. And then you can treat me like the asshole you think I am.”
Schwab explains to Stow and the other skateboarders that it is illegal to skateboard anywhere in San Francisco, and that they were responding to a complaint about them.
According to the Chronicle, an internal investigation was conducted, but it’s not known if Schwab was punished, because the California Supreme Court has ruled that police disciplinary records are confidential.
2. He Was Sued for Excessive Force For a 2008 Incident
San Francisco settled a brutality lawsuit for $35,000 in 2010 involving Schwab.
Noah Booher claimed he witnessed Schwab and and other officers using excessive force while making an arrest in 2008.
Booher, who was in a crowd across the street from where the arrest was happening, began recording the incident with his phone. He said Schwab came across the street and demanded ID from Booher. He claims after he showed Schwab ID, the officer began hitting him in the stomach. Other officers then jumped into the attack and Booher was arrested, according to the lawsuit. The charges were later dropped.
3. One Of the Officers Said N***ers ‘Should Be Spayed’
Though the text messages were sent several years ago, they only came to light recently when prosecutors included them in a court document. Prosecutors also sent the texts to the police department, which began an internal investigation.
It is not yet known which officer sent and received which texts, except that they all involve Furminger.
In one text, one of the officers tells Furminger, “Ni**ers should be spayed.” The texts also include homophobic slurs.
All the texts can be read in this court document:
4. The Chief Says He Will Seek to Fire the 4 Officers
The four cops have all been moved to “non-public-contact” jobs within the SFPD since the messages came to light. San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr told the Chronicle, “It makes me sick to my stomach to even have these guys around.” He added that will be seeking for fire all four cops. Speaking to ABC San Francisco, Suhr said, “My expectation is the police commission will share my desire to terminate these people from the police department and act upon it. If you have character that is incompatible with that of a police officer what’s expected of a police officer then you shouldn’t be a police officer.”
5. Prosecutors Called Furminger a ‘Virulent Racist and Homophobe’
In December 2014, Officer Ian Furminger was convicted along with Officer Edmond Robles of stealing money during police searches and conspiring to sell drugs, reports ABC San Francisco. In the court documents that shed light on the racist text messages, Furminger is described as racist and an alcoholic while also stating that he has mental health issues.