Prosecutors at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office are being accused of withholding evidence in hopes of convicting a San Francisco police officer of excessive force.
The NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has learned a criminal investigator for the DA’s office, Magen Hayashi, testified Thursday that she was ordered by her own co-workers – attorneys inside the district attorney’s office – to withhold evidence, and said she believed she would have been fired if she refused.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin and his office did not respond to requests for comment.
The allegations stem from the ongoing criminal case against San Francisco Police Officer Terrance Stangel, who is accused of unnecessarily beating a man with his baton more than two years ago.
During her testimony, Hayashi told a judge she never disclosed the fact that she interviewed a witness who said just before Officer Stangel pulled out his baton, the man he struck could be seen beating a woman. In court documents filed earlier this week, Stangel’s attorney, Nicole Pifari, argued Stangel’s use of force was “reasonable and lawful under the circumstances and existing law.”
The officer’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss the charges based “prosecutorial misconduct” and “deceptive and reprehensible methods” used by the district attorney’s office. The judge has yet to rule on whether to throw out the case.
“The DA’s deceit and concealment of real evidence is disturbing, it is corrupt, and it is a violation of public trust,” Pifari wrote in the recent court filing. “Most importantly, however, it is illegal.”
Supporters of San Francisco's District Attorney Chesa Boudin responded to the testimony on Friday.
A spokesperson for the "Friends of Chesa Boudin" lobbying group issued a statement Friday which read in part: “The recall campaign must be getting desperate. They’re actually joining forces with lawyers for disgraced police officers. The recall committee is now working against police accountability in their desperation to overturn the last election.”