Enlarge / San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr (L) at a news conference last year. "Anyone capable of the reprehensive texts that these guys sent should not be police officers, and we will work for that to be the case," Suhr said on Monday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has ruled that police officers who sent racist and homophobic text messages can't be fired because the city missed a deadline.

Judge Ernest Goldsmith said that California's Peace Officer Bill of Rights bars San Francisco from taking action against the officers after a one-year statute of limitations. "It is not in the public interest to let police misconduct charges languish," he said, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. “The public has a right to have accusations against police officers be promptly adjudicated.”

The messages came out in court documents as part of a federal corruption investigation in February 2014. However, lawyers for the accused police officers say the San Francisco Police Department first learned about the texts in December 2012. But it wasn't until April 2015 that Police Chief Greg Suhr moved to fire eight of the officers and discipline the other six.

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