SAN FRANCISCO—Officers from the San Francisco Police Department arrested a suspect after a standoff near Pier 48 on March 17. The incident occurred at approximately 2:33 p.m. when Dispatchers at the Department of Emergency Management received a call noting a man going in and out of the water. Officers from the Southern Police Station and the SFPD Marine Unit responded to the scene, where the man was seen under the pier and looked to be in crisis.
According to a press release from the SFPD, the individual would not come out from under the pier and officers asked for assistance from the Department’s Hostage/Crisis Negotiation Team (H/CNT). The man was only wearing shorts, and concerns of hypothermia raised and authorities requested medics from the San Francisco Fire Department to arrive on the scene.
Rising tides concerned officials, who were aware the individual could get trapped underneath the pier. Assets from the SFPD Marine Unit and the SFFD Fire Boat (equipped with rescue swimmers) set-up near the pier as negotiators did their best to talk the individual to move towards safety. A member of the H/CNT attempted to give a life vest to the man, but he refused to accept it. The suspect was identified as Angelo Valdez, 27, of San Francisco. He was wanted for several outstanding warrants for domestic violence, spousal battery, violating a restraining order and resisting arrest. During negotiations, Valdez informed negotiators that he was an MMA fighter and that he would not comply with their orders.
As sunlight began to diminish and temperatures dropped, authorities made strides to take Valdez into custody and to move him to a position of safety. At approximately 6:45 p.m., authorities were able to corner the suspect on the edge of the barge.
Valdez continued to refuse to comply with being placed under arrest to be taken into custody. Officers did not utilize a physical control hold out of the risk that Valdez or officers could fall into the cold waters. One of the officers used a department issued oleo resin capsicum spray to distract Valdez and to affect an arrest.
The suspect was taken into custody and officers gave first aid, which included blankets to keep him warm. With the help of firefighters, Valdez was placed into a device known as a “Stokes stretcher,” which was lowered onto a fire boat and moved to an awaiting ambulance at the pier. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation and was booked at the San Francisco County Jail for resisting arrest, providing false identification, and trespassing. He was also booked for the following warrants: domestic violence, spousal battery, violating a restraining order and resisting arrest.
In recent years, the SFPD Hostage/Crisis Negotiation Team has seen a spike in its number of calls for service. Team members volunteer for the assignment and upon acceptance into the Unit, attend over 40 hours of specialized training annually. In 2015, the SFPD Hostage/Crisis Negotiation Team had over 50 call-outs. This incident is the Team’s 15th call-out for 2016.