Two Alameda County sheriff's deputies seen repeatedly beating a suspected car thief in a video were placed on paid administrative leave on Sunday, and one public defender is asking prosecutors to consider filing charges against the pair.
"The surveillance video footage is disgusting and reminds me of Rodney King," Alameda County Public Defender Brandon Woods said in a statement. "Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting. This is clearly excessive force."
The Alameda County deputies, who were not identified, were placed on leave two days after the release of the video, which launched an internal investigation.The deputies chased the man from San Leandro to San Francisco on Thursday, after authorities say he rammed their patrol car and knocked an officer down.
The video, uploaded on Nov. 12, and released on YouTube by the San Francisco public defender's office on Friday, shows two deputies chasing a man on foot. As the man slows, one deputy tackles him and punches him twice. The second deputy arrives and starts hitting the man with his baton. Soon, both deputies hit him with their batons as he screamed and alternated from laying on the ground and getting on his knees.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the video shows excessive force.
"He didn't pose any threat at that point, and they are clearly using excessive force and trying to seriously hurt him when he was on the ground and subdued,'' he said Friday. "I don't see any reason why he couldn't be handcuffed and taken into custody.''
Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman, Sgt. J.D. Nelson, said the deputies believed the suspect, 29-year-old Stanislav Petrov, was armed and possibly on drugs. A gun was later recovered.
Ptrov was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.
Woods, who visited Petrov at the hospital Sunday, said in a statement that that he suffered several broken bones in both of his hands or arms and multiple lacerations to the back of his head, but was alert and talking.
He said he was horrified by the force depicted in the video.
"I was shocked, outraged and disgusted,'' he said. "I counted over 30 baton strikes. I'm not sure what facts would justify that sort of brutal beating.''
NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.