Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org
Alex Bastian / (415) 314-4848 / Alex.Bastian@sfgov.org
SAN FRANCISCO–Today, San Francisco District Attorney Boudin announced that the District Attorney’s Office has filed felony charges against San Francisco Police Department Officer Terrance Stangel, who beat Dacari Spiers with his baton on October 7, 2019. The felony complaint alleges that Officer Stangel used excessive and unlawful force when he beat Mr. Spiers, breaking his wrist and leg, necessitating surgery. The incident occurred just before District Attorney Boudin’s election and remained under investigation when District Attorney Boudin took office. The District Attorney’s Office filed a warrant for Officer Stangel’s arrest, which a judge signed today, after which the District Attorney’s Office formally filed felony charges of Battery with Serious Bodily Injury (Penal Code Section 243(d)); Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Penal Code Section 245(a)(1); Assault with Force Likely to Cause Great Bodily Injury (Penal Code Section 245(a)(4); and Assault under Color of Authority (Penal Code Section 149).
“Officers responding to a call have a duty to promote public safety—not to turn to violence as a show of authority,” said District Attorney Boudin. “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.”
On the evening of October 7, 2019, Dacari Spiers was on a date with his girlfriend at Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco Police Department Officers Terrance Stangel and Cuahtemoc Martinez responded to a 911 call report of a man assaulting a woman. Once on scene, they were directed to Mr. Spiers and his girlfriend, who were standing close to each other and talking. Officers did not observe any physical violence or unlawful conduct by either of them.
Police body camera footage captured much of the incident. Within seconds of arriving, Officer Martinez ordered Mr. Spiers to turn around, while ignoring questions by him and his girlfriend about what he had done. Officer Martinez immediately tried to grab Mr. Spiers, who insisted he had not done anything, and officers ignored Mr. Spiers’s girlfriend, who was screaming, “No!” and “What did he do?”
Officer Stangel is alleged to have then approached Mr. Spiers from behind striking him with a baton. Mr. Spiers repeatedly yelled, “Stop!” Officer Martinez forced Mr. Spiers to the ground and Officer Stangel struck his legs again multiple times.
Mr. Spiers was not observed committing any illegal act. He was not arrested for any crime. Officer Stangel broke Mr. Spiers’s wrist and leg, requiring surgery to repair. Mr. Spiers also suffered numerous lacerations to his legs that required stitches. Following the attack, he was forced to use a wheelchair during his recovery.
San Francisco leaders and activists praised the decision. Gloria Berry, Chair of the Black Lives Matter San Francisco County Central Committee (DCCC), a veteran, and a member of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s African American Advisory Board, heralded District Attorney Boudin’s announcement. “Growing up in the 1970s in San Francisco seeing police commit violence on Black men and never being held accountable made me feel like being Black meant we were less than,” she said. “Today I have tears in my eyes to hear that under the Office of the San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, officers are being charged, history is being made, and Black people are finally being seen.”
Keith Baraka, a member of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office’s African American Advisory Board and the DA’s Office’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and the Second Vice Chair on San Francisco’s DCCC, echoed those sentiments. “Police officers must be held accountable for acts of brutality they commit against those they have sworn to protect and serve,” he said. “As the murder of George Floyd drew attention worldwide to police abuse of Black men, we must also remember that police violence comes in many forms—including through the dehumanization that results when officers treat Black men like criminals. I am grateful to District Attorney Boudin for valuing Black lives and for refusing to excuse police violence.”
The District Attorney’s Office is not requesting pretrial detention for Officer Stangel. The case is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office’s Independent Investigation Bureau (IIB).