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San Francisco DA Refiles Charges Against Former Alameda County Deputies In 2015 Beating Of Pursuit Suspect

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Thursday his office was refiling charges against two former Alameda County Sheriff's deputies in the beating of pursuit suspect Stanislov Petrov in a San Francisco alley in 2015.

Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber were arraigned Thursday afternoon on charges that include assault by a public officer, battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon and numerous enhancements for great bodily injury and use of a weapon. Both pleaded not guilty.

"My office has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to police accountability when officers break the law and, at the same time, we also work to quickly exonerate officers who behaved lawfully," Boudin said in a news release. "We have remained committed to prosecuting the case against the Alameda County Sheriff's deputies, as it is an egregious example of police brutality. We continue to pursue accountability for these deputies for the unjustified and unconscionable beating of an unarmed man."

Boudin later said, "We're not out to get anyone. We're out to enforce the law, we're out to ensure that the public can trust men and women wearing uniform."

Former mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg, who is leading a recall effort against Boudin, weighed in on the District Attorney's decision.

"He's trying to do something to save face with the voters that chose him back in 2019.  He made the promise he was going to hold law enforcement officers accountable," said Greenberg.

The charges, which were initially filed in 2016, stem from a November 12, 2015 incident in which Santamaria and Wieber pursued Petrov in a high-speed chase from an unincorporated area of Alameda County, across the Bay Bridge and onto the streets of San Francisco.

The pursuit ended in Stevenson Alley, where the deputies chased Petrov on foot.

2015 Alameda County Sheriff Beating in San Francisco Mission District
A frame from a surveillance video showing sheriff deputies beating a man with batons in S.F. Mission District. (SF Public Defenders Office)

The DA's office said that as Petrov slowed down, and raised his hands to surrender, it is alleged that Santamaria and Wieber tackled him on the street and beat him with their fists and batons. All the while Petrov allegedly was pleading for help.

A private surveillance camera captured the incident, showing the deputies striking Petrov over 30 times on his head, hands, body and legs with their batons. He suffered major lacerations to his head, multiple broken bones, and was bleeding profusely.

The case was close to proceeding to trial in March of 2020, but a key prosecution expert witness became unavailable for medical reasons, and the court denied the prosecution's request for a continuance.

As a result, the prosecution moved for a "first dismissal," which allows a felony case to be refiled.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court again June 4, to determine details of a possible preliminary hearing.

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