SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office on Monday announced it has filed felony assault charges against an SFPD officer in connection with an incident at Fisherman’s Wharf last year that left a man with a broken wrist and leg.
The office of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a press release that San Francisco Police Department Officer Terrance Stangel was facing felony charges for allegedly using “excessive and unlawful force” when he beat Dacari Spiers with his baton while answering a 911 call reporting an assault at Fisherman’s Wharf on October 7, 2019.READ MORE: COVID Reopening: 'We Have Confidence' About Fans At Ballparks On Opening Day, Newsom Says
The incident happened about a month before Boudin was elected to office last year and remained under investigation. The DA’s Office filed a warrant for Stangel’s arrest, which a judge signed Monday. The officer faces four felony charges of battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and assault under color of authority.
“Officers responding to a call have a duty to promote public safety—not to turn to violence as a show of authority,” said Boudin in a news release. “This case is an example of an officer unnecessarily escalating a situation and then violently beating a Black man whom he had no legal basis to even arrest. Officers who not only fail to promote safety but actively harm others must — and in my administration will — be held accountable.”
According to the release, Spiers was on a date with his girlfriend at Fisherman’s Wharf on the evening of the incident. Stangel and fellow SFPD officer Cuahtemoc Martinez responded to a 911 call reporting a man assaulting a woman.
The arriving officers were directed to Spiers and his girlfriend, who were standing close to each other and talking. According to the DA’s release, officers did not observe any physical violence or unlawful conduct by either of them.
Much of the incident was captured by the officers’ police body cameras. Moments after arriving, Martinez ordered Spiers to turn around, while ignoring questions asked by Spiers and his girlfriend regarding what he had done.
As Martinez tried to grab Spiers as the couple continued to ask questions and protest, Stangel alleged approached Spiers from behind and struck him with his police baton.READ MORE: UPDATE: Huge Ferris Wheel to Stay in Golden Gate Park Through 2025 After Contract Extension Approval
As Spiers repeatedly yelled for the officers to stop, Martinez him to the ground and Stangel struck his legs again multiple times. Spiers was not observed committing an illegal act and was not arrested for any crime.
During the incident, Stangel broke Spiers’s wrist and leg, which would require surgery to repair. He also suffered multiple lacerations to his legs that required stitches and was forced to use a wheelchair during his recovery.
Spiers filled a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco and the two officer alleging civil rights violations and assault earlier this year. The lawsuit said Spiers was was hugging his girlfriend, consoling her as they leaned on their parked car after she learned she had her wallet stolen.
Monday’s announcement comes after Boudin recently decided to prosecute officers involved in two police shootings.
In November, his office filed homicide charges against an on-duty officer for the first time in San Francisco history. Officer Chris Samayoa is now facing charges for the death of Keita O’Neil in 2017.
Last week, a grand jury returned indictments for felony charges against Officer Christopher Flores and suspect Jamaica Hampton for a 2019 shooting in the Mission District.
Those cases are still pending.MORE NEWS: Caught On Camera: Petaluma Credit Card Theft Suspects Go On Shopping Spree
The DA’s office is not requesting pretrial detention for Stangel. The case is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office Independent Investigation Bureau.