A judge says nine San Francisco police officers will remain on paid leave while he decides whether the department waited too long to discipline them in connection with racist text messages.

The judge's decision Monday also barred the San Francisco Police Commission from disciplining the officers until their lawsuit over disciplinary proceedings is resolved.

Police Chief Greg Suhr is seeking the dismissal of seven officers and the suspension of six others over text messages exchanged over a two-year period and made public in March.

Nine of the officers are suing the city, arguing the department should have started disciplinary proceedings when first told of the texts during a federal corruption investigation in 2012.

The department says disclosing knowledge of the texts at that time would have jeopardized the federal investigation.