Two days after the San Francisco district attorney filed assault charges against an SFPD officer in connection with an October 2019 baton beating of a domestic violence suspect, the SFPD has released audio from the 911 call that led to the officers' arrival at the scene, as well as body-worn camera footage from the incident.
DA Chesa Boudin on Monday filed assault and battery charges against Officer Terrance Stangel, accusing him of using excessive force in subduing 32-year-old Dacari Spiers following a 911 caller's report of a domestic violence incident involving him and his girlfriend. Boudin contends that there was no evidence that any domestic violence was occurring, and that Officer Stangel along with another arriving officer, Officer Cuahtemoc Martinez, were "unnecessarily escalating a situation" in which they "had no legal basis to even arrest" Spiers.
The incident happened on the night of October 6, 2019, near Fisherman's Wharf at the intersection of Beach and Powell streets.
Spiers, who is Black, suffered significant injuries from the baton beating by Stangel, and in February he filed a federal lawsuit against the department.
SFPD Chief Bill Scott released a statement late Wednesday along with the audio and footage in support of the officers involved, saying, in part, "I have confidence in our judicial system, and the criminal charges filed on Officer Stangel are now a matter for our judicial system to decide."
Below you can hear the original audio from the 911 caller — said to be a Black female — who says she witnessed Spiers "holding [his girlfriend] by the neck — like, dragging her by the neck." She adds, in the call, "I didn’t see any weapons but she tried to get away and he got her again... She got away, and he came behind her and said … ‘I got you now.’ He grabbed her by the waist and dragged her the other way."
The unidentified witness provided a physical description of Spiers, and she was told by the 911 operator that her or her friend's cellphone video of the incident would only be valuable if they stuck around to provide a copy of it to police. Instead, the witness provided her phone number.
Following the 911 and police dispatch audio, the video includes body-cam footage from both Stangel and Martinez. Both bits of video depict a chaotic scene in which one officer (possibly Martinez), approaches Spiers first and almost immediately begins physically trying to subdue him. According to previous descriptions of the incident, Martinez approached first, ordered Spiers to turn around, and tried to physically grab him. Stangel then allegedly hit Spiers from behind with the baton, and continued delivering blows to his legs once he was on the ground.
Both Spiers and his girlfriend can be heard in the video screaming for the officers to stop.
It's unclear whether the SFPD ever obtained cellphone footage from the witness who made the 911 call, and that is not included in the package released Tuesday.
DA's office spokesperson Rachel Marshall said in a statement to Mission Local, "Our office was never presented witness cell phone video or domestic violence charges in connection with this incident."
It appears the police intend to argue that Spiers was resisting arrest, however he was not arrested or ever charged with any crime.
"While I steadfastly believe that officers should be held accountable when they violate the law," Chief Scott said in his statement, "I feel just as strongly that there needs to be a balance in holding individuals accountable when they assault, physically attack, or unlawfully obstruct police officers in their duty to respond to public safety emergencies."
Both Scott and Boudin are expected to take part in a live discussion about the incident and charges against Stangel on Facebook Live, Wednesday at noon. Look for that here.