SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco can move forward with disciplinary proceedings against police officers caught exchanging racist and homophobic text messages after the California Supreme Court rejected the officers’ case.

The high court on Wednesday unanimously declined to hear an appeal by the officers of a lower court ruling in May that reinstated the disciplinary proceedings.

A call after hours to the police union was not immediately returned.

The text messages were discovered during the federal prosecution of former Sgt. Ian Furminger on charges related to the theft of money and property from drug suspects.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office gave the messages to the police administrative unit three days after Furminger was convicted of four charges in federal court in San Francisco on Dec. 5, 2014.

The existence of the messages became publicly known and caused an outcry when federal prosecutors included examples of some of them in a filing in March 2015 opposing Furminger’s bid for bail during his appeal.

In April 2015, following the internal investigation, then-Chief Greg Suhr filed disciplinary charges with the San Francisco Police Commission against nine officers.

He announced he was recommending that the commission fire seven officers and consider lesser discipline against two others. He said he would have recommended firing another officer, Michael Robison, who had already resigned.

But before the commission could act, Officer Rain Daugherty and eight other officers acting anonymously filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court and won an order halting the proceedings.

A trial court judge cited a California statute of limitations law requiring that officers be punished within a year of their transgressions. An appellate court reversed that decision.

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