SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department published a videotape of an incident that occurred between Dacari Spiers and Officer Terrance Stangel after District Attorney Chesa Boudin stated that the officer has been charged with one count each of battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and assault under color of authority.
“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 in a statement. “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,” said Boudin.
Spiers filed a lawsuit against the city and county of San Francisco on February 24, 2020. The lawsuit indicates that Spiers, his girlfriend, and his cousin were walking to their parked vehicle at Pier 39 when the girlfriend noticed her wallet was “missing and realized it had been stolen at some point during the evening.” Spiers, in the lawsuit, says he began consoling her when “San Francisco police officers suddenly attacked.”
“Without explanation or de-escalation by officers, he was thrown to the ground and the beating continued,” the lawsuit states.
Spiers said in the lawsuit that he and his girlfriend heard “yelling but had no reason to know the yelling was from police officers and that they were directing their yelling towards his person.”
While Spiers was in the hospital, he was visited by police officers, and the district attorney’s office on three separate occasions, the lawsuit notes. According to Spiers, these visits were “unannounced and unwelcome” and were made “with the express intent of intimidating and silencing Mr. Spiers.”
District Attorney Boudin said in a statement that Spiers “was not observed committing any illegal act. He was not arrested for any crime.”
Michael Andraychak, Public Information Officer with the San Francisco Police Department Media Relations Unit said, “The suspect was arrested and cited for 148(A)(1)PC.”
According to the California Legislature, 148(A)(1) is a Penal Code violation for anyone who “willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer… in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”
“The decision to ‘charge’ rests with the DA’s office, not the police department,” said Officer Andraychak.
SFPD Police Chief William Scott indicated in a statement on December 15, that the police received a 911 call about an assault/battery in progress shortly after 9 p.m.
According to the 911 call, the female caller described the man as an “African-American, he has black pants on, a red and black jacket, and I think he has dreads on.” The caller continued, “He is holding her by the neck – like, dragging her by the neck.” She said that the female was trying to get away “but he got her again.”
The caller said that once the male caught up with the female again, he “grabbed her by the waist and said, ‘You are not going anywhere. I got you now.’”
The caller described the female as a light-complexion African American.
Chief Scott said that the caller’s description of the persons involved matches with that of Mr. Spiers and the girlfriend.
According to the 911 caller, her friend was recording the assault on her cell phone, but she said she would “not send it in” to the cops. After the dispatcher gave the caller the option of not meeting with the police, but calling it in, the caller provided the authorities her contact information.
“While I steadfastly believe that officers should be held accountable when they violate the law, I feel just as strongly that there needs to be balance in holding individuals accountable when they assault, physically attack, or unlawfully obstruct police officers in their duty to respond to public safety emergencies. Unfortunately, the job of protecting public safety and preserving order becomes exceedingly difficult when that balance is absent,” said Police Chief Scott.
As of December 16, the San Francisco News has not been able to contact Spiers’ girlfriend for comment.
The District Attorney’s Office indicated in a statement that they are not “requesting pretrial detention for Officer Stangel. The case is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office’s Independent Investigation Bureau.”