Almost six years on from a brutal case of police brutality that was caught on surveillance video and witnessed by multiple people, the two former Alameda County sheriff's deputies are once again facing charges in San Francisco.
The beating happened in a Mission District alley in November 2015, and it followed a pursuit across the Bay Bridge that began in a hotel parking lot in San Leandro. The suspect, Stanislav Petrov, was believed to be driving a stolen Mercedes, and he allegedly crashed into two police cars and injured a sheriff's deputy before trying to escape to San Francisco.
After fleeing down an alley on foot, the officers were seen on surveillance video beating Petrov with batons while awaiting backup, and then beating him some more. And they clearly knew they had done something wrong, because a report emerged a few months later that they had taken a gold chain from Petrov and allegedly used it to bribe a witness, a homeless person, into not talking.
The former deputies, Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber, previously faced assault and battery charges and were set to stand trial last year, but an expert witness became ill and the judge denied a request to delay the trial. That led SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin to drop the charges against the officers, vowing to refile them at an appropriate time.
Now, as the Examiner reports, Boudin has filed new felony charges against Santamaria and Wieber, including assault by a peace officer, battery with serious bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon. They are scheduled to be arraigned in San Francisco on Thursday.
"We continue to pursue accountability for these deputies for the unjustified and unconscionable beating of an unarmed man," Boudin said in a statement.
This is the fourth case in which Boudin's office is prosecuting law enforcement officers for excessive force.
Boudin filed charges last December in a case involving a Black man who was beaten by SFPD officers near Fisherman's Wharf in October 2019. In that case, officers were called to the scene of a possible domestic incident on the street between a man and his girlfriend, which was reported by a passerby, and they ended up bringing him to the ground and beating him with batons — even though body camera footage does not suggest that the suspect appeared to be violent.
A week earlier in December, Boudin also filed charges against a rookie SFPD officer in the Mission District shooting of 25-year-old Jamaica Hampton a year earlier, which left him paralyzed. And in November, Boudin filed what is believed to be the first homicide charge against a police officer in San Francisco, a manslaughter charge in the December 2017 shooting of Keita O'Neil.
As for Petrov, the victim in the 2015 beating, he received a $5.5 million settlement from Alameda County in 2017 in a civil rights case. But he was in prison at the time on drugs and weapons charges, and he was allegedly linked to an April 2017 shooting that happened in SF's Visitacion Valley. It's unclear where he is now.