A former Alameda County sheriff's deputy, one of two officers seen on video in San Francisco brutally beating a suspect with their batons in a widely publicized 2015 incident, saw the charges against him dismissed Thursday morning.
The case goes back to early November 2015, when a then-29-year-old Stanislav Petrov was suspected of ramming a stolen Mercedes into two Alameda Sheriff's Office vehicles in a San Leandro hotel parking lot, and injuring one deputy. Two deputies then pursued Petrov in a high-speed chase across the Bay Bridge to the Mission District, where Petrov's vehicle collided with a parked car, and he attempted to flee down an alley on foot. The two deputies caught up with him and proceeded to brutalize him with batons as he cried for help — a scene that was caught on video and subsequently publicized by the SF Public Defender's Office.
The case has languished over the last seven years, with former District Attorney George Gascon filing the original assault and battery charges.
As the Chronicle reports, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins is decrying today's decision to dismiss charges against one of the officers as "excessively lenient," and saying that former deputy Paul Wieber is "extremely fortunate" not to be seeing more "appropriate consequences" due the “severe brutality of his unprovoked attack" on Petrov. But it's not at all clear that Jenkins's office would have chosen a different path — her tough-on-police-brutality predecessor Chesa Boudin was the one who originally struck plea deals with Wieber and onetime partner Luis Santamaria after initially dropping charges against them due to evidence issues when he took office, and refiling charges last year. The implication was that Boudin's office was not confident they would get a conviction at trial.
Santamaria withdrew his own not-guilty plea last year, and, in a plea deal, he was assigned to a mental health diversion program for post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It is maddening and against the interests of justice, but our hands were unfortunately tied," Jenkins's statement continued, and she added that because of her predecessors "unexplained" plea deal with Wieber, he could end up working in law enforcement again.
The judge in the case, Braden C. Woods, expressed sympathy for Wieber, who was fired from the sheriff's office and was subsequently rejected from nursing school. As the Chronicle reports, Woods called it "a kick in the stomach" that Wieber would "still want to give back to the public" and be rejected in those efforts.
About six months after the beating incident, Petrov was present at a home in Visitacion Valley that was raided by police and the FBI — following a shooting the previous day in which one man would end up dead. He would then end up in prison on federal drug and weapons charges in 2017, and it's unclear if and when he was ever released.
A few months into his imprisonment, Petrov won a $5.5 million civil settlement from Alameda County over the 2015 beating. So he's likely still living off of that.