Officers Face Civil Rights & Other Charges in Calif.
(CN) - Five San Francisco police officers and a former colleague have been indicted by a grand jury for civil rights and multiple other violations.
In the Thursday indictment, three of the officers were charged with conspiracy against civil rights and deprivation of rights under color of law. Two of the officers were also charged with falsification of records.
The three indicted officers are Arshad Razzak and Richard Yick, both of San Francisco, and Raul Elias, of San Mateo, Calif.
They are accused of conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten and otherwise intimidate occupants of single-occupancy hotel rooms that they entered without legal justification.
Razzak and Yick are also alleged to have falsified a payment slip to an informant, and each of them is also separately alleged to have falsified police reports to conceal their unlawful activities.
If convicted on the civil rights conspiracy charge, each of the men faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. All three also have a year in prison and an additional $250,000 fine if convicted of depriving people of the civil rights.
Razzak and Yick also face multiple sentences of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the falsification of records charges that have been leveled against them both jointly and individually.
Separately, a grand jury indicted three men - two of them San Francisco police officers, the other a former officer - with conspiracies to distribute controlled substances, against civil rights, and to commit theft concerning federally funded programs. One of the two officers was also charged with extortion.
The defendants covered by this indictment are Sergeant Ian Furminger, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., Officer Edmond Robles, 46, of Danville, Calif., and former officer Reynaldo Vargas, of Palm Desert, Calif.
According to the indictment, the three men engaged in multiple criminal conspiracies, namely, to distribute controlled substances; to steal money and other valuable items, such as computers, electronic devices, and gift cards, from suspects; and to steal money, drugs and other valuable items that were seized on behalf of the City of San Francisco. Defendant Furminger is also alleged to have extorted property from an individual.
If convicted of the drug conspiracy and drug distributions charges, all three men face 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each charge. The three men also face 10 years and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the civil rights conspiracy charge, and five to 10 years and a fine of $250,000 if convicted of stealing from a federal program.
Furminger also faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the extortion charge.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said its investigation began shortly after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascõn referred the matter to federal authorities citing a conflict of interest.
In March 2011, San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi had released hotel surveillance videos from a hotel in the Tenderloin neighborhood of several plainclothes officers with the San Francisco Police Department entering hotel rooms that, according to Adachi, were inconsistent with police reports and sworn police testimony.
Gascon was San Francisco's chief of police at the time of the police officers' conduct. Federal authorities, in partnership with the police department Internal Affairs Criminal Division, launched investigations into select officers' conduct in the Mission and Southern Districts of the city, culminating in two separate indictments.
This case is being steered by the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office.