Alameda deputies charged with beating suspect surrender, post bail

Two Alameda County sheriff’s deputies charged with felonies for beating a suspect after a high-speed chase into San Francisco last year surrendered today and posted bail, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Deputy Luis Santamaria and Deputy Paul Wieber each surrendered at an Alameda County jail and posted $140,000 bail, according to the district attorney’s office. A court date has not been scheduled.

San Francisco prosecutors charged them with assault under color of authority, battery with serious bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon for beating Stanislav Petrov, a suspect in a reported stolen car who led the deputies on a chase from unincorporated San Leandro to the Mission District on Nov. 12.

In an alley near Stevenson and 14th streets, the deputies hit Petrov with batons at least 30 times over the course of 40 seconds, striking him in the head and hands and leaving him with injuries including a concussion, broken bones in both hands, a mild traumatic brain injury and deep cuts to his head, according to prosecutors.

They had chased him there after he allegedly rammed two sheriff’s patrol cars, causing minor injuries to one deputy. The pursuit went through multiple East Bay cities and over the Bay Bridge before Petrov ran out of gas and crashed the car.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released surveillance video of the incident later that week. None of the deputies had activated their body cameras, but one of them apparently turned it on by accident, and the district attorney’s office used that footage in its investigation.

Prosecutors said they are still looking into further allegations of false police statements, bribery, theft and witness tampering made against other deputies involved.

Santamaria’s attorney Michael Rains said Tuesday that he believes the criminal case will eventually show that the deputies acted within the law and only used the force necessary to make an arrest, overcome resistance and prevent suspects from escaping.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern said it’s the first time since 1969 that deputies in his department have been charged with using excessive force. The deputies are also the subject of an internal affairs investigation and remain on paid administrative leave.

The sheriff’s office’s criminal investigation into Petrov was completed a long time ago, according to Ahern, and forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, but no charges have been filed against Petrov so far.

Petrov is facing unrelated gun and drug charges in a federal case that followed a March 8 search of his apartment by the FBI.

The beating has prompted reforms at the sheriff’s office. Ahern said he has increased training in use of force and revised body camera procedures to make it mandatory for deputies to turn them on while they’re interacting with the public.

Petrov filed a complaint against the sheriff’s office, typically the precursor to a lawsuit, in March.


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