While the city is ready to settle an alleged police brutality claim for $700K, the officer asking a judge to toss his assault case had a bad day in court Thursday.
Earlier this week we brought you an update on an alleged 2019 Fisherman’s Wharf police beating, where the officer accused of the beating claimed that District Attorney Chesa Boudin buried evidence which would have justified the use of force. Well, this Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda was published online Friday morning, and we see that the victim of that alleged police beating, Dacari Spiers, is in line to receive a $700,000 settlement from the city over getting his wrists and leg broken in the incident. This may not bode well for the officer’s claims of complete innocence.
That officer Terrance Stangel continues to face charges for assault and battery, but claims the DA withheld evidence that someone said they saw Spiers committing domestic violence. As such, Stangel’s attorney says the use of force was justified, and that the case against Stangel should be thrown out. But the Chronicle reports that the judge was unmoved by claims that evidence was suppressed, and appears unlikely to toss the case.
“The DA’s office is not on trial,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teresa Caffese said during pretrial proceedings Thursday. “What I’m not hearing here is that there was any evidence suppressed.”
The dispute stems from the testimony of a DA’s office criminal investigator Magen Hayashi, who according to KTVU, testified Thursday that she was told by her colleagues to leave out of Stangels’s arrest warrant how police had received a 911 from a witness who said she saw Spiers hitting his girlfriend. "I was told to remove sections – that it wasn’t relevant," Hayashi reportedly said. "It was a general understanding in my experience in this office, if you don’t sign these things you’ll be fired.”
The judge has issued a gag order, meaning no one involved can talk to the media, so we cannot ask follow-up questions. But it’s fair to assume that the judge is focusing solely on Officer Stangel’s conduct, rather than the externals of how Boudin’s office prepares arrest warrants.
But you'd better believe the Recall Chesa Boudin movement is jumping all over this. They put out a press release Friday afternoon that “called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Boudin and his office” (yeah like Merrick Garland has nothing better to do!), because “Boudin is not only using his power in an unjust way, but he’s also threatening his staff in an attempt to secure political wins that he believes will earn him more political support.”
It seems pretty clear where this is all going to go. Officer Stangel’s trial will still start Monday with opening statements, and the case will not be dismissed. The Recall Chesa Boudin movement will continue to make hay out of the “pressuring staff to withhold evidence” argument right up until the June 7 recall election.
And Dacari Spiers will soon receive a $700,000 settlement check over the whole mess, paid for with your tax dollars.
Image: Attorneys for Dacari Spiers