A three-year investigation has led to the federal grand jury indictments of five San Francisco police officers and one former officer Thursday, on charges ranging from selling marijuana to stealing money, gift cards and computers from suspects.
The charges came in two separate indictments. Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47; Officer Edmond Robles, 46; and former Officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, were named in the first indictment. The three were accused of stealing drugs and valuables from the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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Officers Arshad Razzak, 41; Richard Yick, 37; and Raul Eric Elias, 44, were charged with civil rights violations for allegedly entering single-occupancy hotel rooms without cause and intimidating occupants, along with falsifying evidence to hide wrongdoing.
San Francisco public defender Jeffrey Adachi sparked the investigation after he released hotel surveillance footage in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood showing plainclothes officers entering hotel rooms.
The San Francisco Chronicle called the indictments
the biggest scandal in the San Francisco police department since the 2002 "Fajitagate" case, in which a fight between three off-duty officers and two men over a bag of fajitas and led to allegations of a cover-up.
Vargas, who turned himself in after the indictment was unsealed, pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate. He was released on $50,000 bond.
The five current officers, who have all been suspended without pay, are scheduled to appear in court Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I don't know that it gets any worse than this, other than an officer-involved serious injury or death, when the public trust is betrayed by a sitting San Francisco or any police officer," Police Chief Greg Suhr said in a news conference Thursday.
"This is not only a betrayal of the public's trust, but also a betrayal of all the men and women of the San Francisco Police Department who work hard every day to do what they can to keep San Francisco safe," Suhr added.
San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran said in a statement that the charges against the officers do not prove their guilt.
"These indictments are apparently based on the questionable testimony of unreliable informant witnesses," Halloran said. "It is important to remember that the accused officers will have their day in court."
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