The attorney for a San Francisco Police Department officer facing assault and battery charges in a 2019 baton beating said late Monday the officer acted lawfully.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced earlier on Monday that prosecutors have charged Officer Terrance Stangel with battery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault likely to cause great bodily injury and assault under color of authority.
The charges stem from a 2019 encounter with Dacari Spiers in the city's Fisherman's Wharf area, in which Stangel and his partner, Officer Cuahtemoc Martinez, responded to a report of a man assaulting a woman.
At the scene, witnesses pointed out Spiers and his girlfriend to the officers although the officers didn't observe any physical violence or unlawful contact between the pair, prosecutors said.
At one point, Stangel allegedly struck Spiers from behind with his baton. As Martinez forced Spiers to the ground, Stangel continued to strike his legs multiple times, according to prosecutors.
As a result, Spiers suffered a broken leg and wrist, as well as lacerations to his leg. He required surgery and stitches and was wheelchair-bound during his recovery, prosecutors said.
Spiers was never arrested or charged with a offense.
"This case is an example of an officer unnecessarily escalating a situation and then violently beating a Black man whom he had no legal basis to even arrest. Officers who not only fail to promote safety but actively harm others must--and in my administration--will be held accountable," Boudin said in statement.
Stangel's attorney Nicole Pifari said the officers were acting lawfully as they were attempting to protect the public from a potentially dangerous situation that allegedly also involved a report of someone being strangled.
Pifari also dismissed allegations of racial bias by the woman who initially made the police call.
"The evidence shows she is a Black woman," Pifari said of the caller.
"Everyone in San Francisco should be concerned the DA can't get his facts straight and is attempting to frame an innocent officer who was doing what society asks of him--protect the public," she said. "We will provide accurate information to the public and the courts that will clear Officer Stangel of these false and malicious accusations from the DA."
The latest case marks the third on-duty SFPD officer facing charges over allegations of misconduct within less than a month.
Late last month, Boudin's office filed manslaughter charges against former police Officer Christopher Samayoa, who fatally shot unarmed Keita O'Neil, 42, in the city's Bayview District in 2017. Then last week, a grand jury indicted Officer Christopher Flores in connection with a 2019 Mission District officer-involved shooting that left a man in critical condition.