SAN FRANCISCO, CA — San Francisco Police Officer Terrance Stangel was found not guilty of excessive force by a jury after a month-long trial.
Stangel was accused of using excessive force against a male suspect during an incident near Fisherman’s Wharf three years ago.
Jury finds SFPD Officer Terrance Stangel NOT GUILTY of 3 counts of assault and battery in landmark police case, hung on fourth count. https://t.co/nLWXWtQv9g— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) March 7, 2022
Stangel had been charged with battery with serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and assault under the color of authority in connection with the domestic violence arrest of Dacari Spiers, 32, in 2019, KTVU reported.
The case had racial undertones because Spiers is black and Stangel is white.
On Monday, the jury found Stangel not guilty on three counts of brutality, and a mistrial was declared on the fourth count, which the jury deadlocked on KTVU reported.
After the verdicts were read, Stangle’s defense attorney, Nicole Pifari, criticized San Francisco District Attorney (DA) Chesa Boudin. Outside the courtroom, she said:
“For the DA to turn around and focus all these types of resources on prosecuting a peace officer who was out there trying to help the public is a travesty, and it’s dangerous for public safety in San Francisco.”
BREAKING: In a historic trial, the jury acquitted SF Police Officer Terrance Stangel for three counts charged against him for when he used a metal baton against Dacari Spiers in Oct. 2019. The fourth was a hung jury and a mistrial. Via @miss_elenius https://t.co/tn66kYZS88— Mission Local (@MLNow) March 7, 2022
During her closing argument, Pifari called the trial a “political prosecution” and accused the team of assistant district attorneys of being “liars.”
KTVU reported Pifari told the jury the DA’s case was “terrible”:
“Their case is terrible. They had to create an alternate reality to bring this case….They lied to you.”
“They’re putting him [Stangel] through a criminal trial for being a human being and facing a dangerous and violent situation on behalf of his community.”
VICTORY IN DEFEAT: Lawyer for #DacariSpiers says there is victory after a jury found @SFPD Ofc. #TerranceStangel not guilty in 2019 beating. @SanFranciscoPOA says it's pleased with verdict— Jonathan McCall (@JonathanMcCall) March 8, 2022
Story on @KRON4News at 9
READ: https://t.co/t0xTKj5hTH#News #CA #BayArea #SF #Police pic.twitter.com/N6YK1A95Ta
The prosecution and defense will return to court on Tuesday to resolve the count of assault under color of authority. Prosecutors can refile the charges or drop them, according to KTVU’s report.
District Attorney spokeswoman Rachel Marshall thanked the jury for their service and defended the office’s decision to charge the case.
KTVU reported that Marshall said:
“This case is a reminder of the uphill battle to hold police accountable. We saw a lot of those obstacles play out in this case.”
Jury finds @SFPD Ofc. Terrance Stangel not guilty of 3 assault & battery charges & deadlocks – in favor of acquittal – on 4th count in confrontation that injured Dacari Spiers, @EvanSernoffsky reports. “We are pleased that this jury focused on the facts,” says @SanFranciscoPOA pic.twitter.com/3RRR7PEECn— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) March 7, 2022
Yet, Pifari had previously alleged that Boudin suppressed evidence that justified the officer’s use of force.
According to a report by SFist, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Officer Terrance Stangel was charged with assault and battery in December of 2020 by Boudin.
The charges stemmed from an incident in which Stangel and Officer Cuahtemoc Martinez responded to a domestic violence call in 2019 near Fisherman’s Wharf that involved Spiers.
In an earlier report, SFist included 911 audio and body camera video of the Oct. 6, 2019 incident, which had been released by SFPD.
SFPD just released body cam footage of the alleged beating that led to DA Boudin filing assault charges against Officer Terrance Stangel https://t.co/o7DxoSBzBn— Michael Barba (@mdbarba) December 16, 2020
SFist reported that a witness, described as a black female, called 911 on Oct. 6. She reported seeing an African American “guy beating up on this girl.” The witness said the female victim was also an African American.
The witness said the male was holding the female by the neck and “dragging her by the neck.”
When the witness was asked by the dispatcher if she saw any weapons, she replied:
“I didn’t see any weapons, but she tried to get away and he got her again…. She got away, and he came behind her and said … ‘I got you now.’ He grabbed her by the waist and dragged her the other way.”
“The unidentified witness provided a physical description of Spiers, and she was told by the 911 operator that her or her friend’s cellphone video of the incident would only be valuable if they stuck around to provide a copy of it to police. Instead, the witness provided her phone number.”
Chesa's assertion that black and brown jurors wouldn't have been able to sift through the facts and reach the correction conclusion in this case is just gross, @meganrcassidy.— Steve Adams (@SteveAdams80182) March 9, 2022
The video footage provided by SFPD is from two officers’ body cameras and appears to show one officer approaching the suspect and almost immediately trying to subdue him.
According to SFist:
“Following the 911 and police dispatch audio, the video includes body-cam footage from both Stangel and Martinez.
“Both bits of video depict a chaotic scene in which one officer (possibly Martinez), approaches Spiers first and almost immediately begins physically trying to subdue him.
“According to previous descriptions of the incident, Martinez approached first, ordered Spiers to turn around, and tried to physically grab him.
“Stangel then allegedly hit Spiers from behind with the baton, and continued delivering blows to his legs once he was on the ground.
“Both Spiers and his girlfriend can be heard in the video screaming for the officers to stop.”
Spiers reportedly suffered significant injuries from being hit with the baton and filed a federal lawsuit against the police department. His injuries included a broken wrist and leg and a gash on the other leg.
The lawsuit alleges Spiers and his girlfriend were leaning against a car in a “loving embrace” when at least two officers grabbed him from behind and began to strike him with batons, according to a report by San Francisco Examiner.
Boudin contended that there was no evidence that any domestic violence had occurred and that the officers were “unnecessarily escalating a situation” in which they “had no legal basis to even arrest” Spiers, according to SFist’s report.
Mission Local reported that Boudin said that Stangel’s actions were an “old-fashioned beat-down by a police officer against an unarmed black man.”
Oooph I would not use my baby as a shield against oncoming protestors.— Michelle Tandler (@michelletandler) March 6, 2022
In an email to Mission Local, DA spokeswoman Rachel Marshall reportedly wrote back and claimed:
“Our office was never presented witness cell phone video or domestic violence charges in connection with this incident.
“Per the SFPD police report: ‘With the statements provided, lack of video surveillance, evidence on scene and unsuccessful attempts at contacting [the 911 caller]’ the officer ‘determined that there was no factual evidence of a domestic violence incident at this time.’”
It definitely was and that was Bernardine Dohrn pushing the stroller https://t.co/C0tb0o8vuW— Roman Mahon (@romanmahon) March 6, 2022
SFist wrote in a separate report:
“Chesa Boudin was not even San Francisco’s district attorney yet when two officers allegedly beat up a domestic violence suspect during Fleet Week 2019.
“But Boudin had just been sworn in as district attorney when that suspect sued the SFPD, as the suspect/beating victim Dacari Spiers said police used excessive force.
“The baton beating from SFPD left him with a broken wrist and leg, though Spiers was never charged.
“Boudin eventually charged the officer, Terrance Stangel, with assault and battery in December 2020.
“Stangel’s attorney quickly fired back that ‘the DA can’t get his facts straight’ over the domestic violence call that promoted the incident.
“SFPD then released the audio of that 911 call, wherein the caller said ‘there’s this guy who’s beating up on this girl,’ and that he was ‘holding her by the neck — like, dragging her by the neck.’”
CHESA BOUDIN claims “elites”— Richie Greenberg (@richieSF2016) March 6, 2022
are after him. Yet:
Boudin went to Yale
Boudin was a Rhodes Scholar
Boudin’s salary is $400k annually
Stangel’s lawyer said there’s more evidence that Boudin has withheld and is asking the judge to wholesale dismiss the assault case against the officer, according to SFist’s report.
The alleged evidence includes an interview the DA’s office conducted with a witness who claimed to see Spiers assaulting his girlfriend.
SFist reported that in a legal motion, Stangel’s lawyer noted:
“As far as the defense knows, the DA never told SFPD that they had obtained damning evidence against Spiers that would support his prosecution for [domestic violence].
“Although it has the authority to do so, the DA itself never filed charges against Spiers for [domestic violence].”
I'm estimating that in June we see 75% of San Franciscans vote Yes on the recall.— Michelle Tandler (@michelletandler) March 1, 2022
This isn't about "angry elites".
This is about scared residents.
Boudin has brought more charges against the police than his predecessors, notably homicide charges in the police shooting of Sean Moore, manslaughter charges in the 2017 shooting of Keita O’Neil, and a grand jury indictment against an officer in the 2019 Jamaica Hamptopon shooting, SFist reported.
Yet, this past January, Boudin dropped charges in a case where police claimed they were assaulted.
Chesa Boudin supporter attacks Asian woman for protesting on the public sidewalk. pic.twitter.com/Y9Syf1Yz4I— Nick Berg (@nicholasmberg) March 5, 2022
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