Caught on video beating a compliant suspect who had already surrendered, two Alameda County sheriff’s deputies were charged with multiple felonies on Tuesday for initiating the needless attack. Although 11 deputies had been present at the beating, only one of them accidentally turned on his body camera, which recorded the incident along with a nearby surveillance camera.
On November 12, 2015, Alameda County sheriff’s deputies reportedly spotted Stanislav Petrov in a stolen car when they began pursuing him from Castro Valley into San Francisco. After his vehicle ran out of gas, Petrov fled on foot with deputies Paul Wieber and Luis Santamaria following directly behind him.
A surveillance video recorded Petrov surrendering with his hands in the air a moment before one of the deputies tackles Petrov and repeatedly punches him. Despite the fact that Petrov does not appear to resist, both deputies viciously strike his exposed head and back with their metal police batons.
Over the course of 40 seconds, the deputies hit Petrov at least 30 times as he pleaded for help. The brutal assault only ended after several other deputies appeared with their body cameras turned off, but one deputy accidentally left his camera on during the incident.
After watching footage from both the surveillance video and the police body cam, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced Tuesday that Santamaria and Wieber have been charged with assault under the color of authority, battery with serious bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon.
“Policing that violates our constitutional rights damages the reputation of every person that wears the uniform, and it damages the public’s perception of those that are sworn to serve,” Gascón said in a statement announcing the charges. “When officers take the law into their own hands, they undermine the moral authority of the entire criminal justice system.”
Hospitalized for 12 days, Petrov suffered a concussion with a mild brain injury, deep head cuts, and multiple broken bones in both hands. While undergoing extensive surgery, Petrov had pins, plates, and screws inserted into his permanently damaged hands.
Following the release of the surveillance video, Santamaria and Wieber were placed on paid administrative leave. A third deputy, Shawn Osborne, was later placed on paid leave when a video surfaced appearing to show him steal a gold chain and money from Petrov after the beating. Osborne allegedly gave the stolen items to a homeless couple who had witnessed the incident.
Last month, attorneys for Petrov filed a claim against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office alleging that deputies had been allowed to alter their original reports after viewing footage of the incident along with their lawyers. Deputies have also been accused of taking trophy photos of Petrov’s bloody body instead of administering any medical assistance.