Two California sheriff’s deputies caught on tape beating a man last November have been charged with three felonies each in connection with the incident, authorities announced on Tuesday.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies Paul Wieber and Luis Santamaria were each charged with assault under color of authority, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury related to the beating of Stanislav Petrov at the end of a police chase last year, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in a press release.
Petrov was wanted in connection with a stolen vehicle when he allegedly led police on an hour-long chase on November 13. Police said he crashed the stolen vehicle on a San Francisco street and fled into an alleyway. Surveillance video showed Petrov attempting to surrender to deputies before he was beaten.
Petrov was taken into custody and hospitalized with several broken bones and lacerations. He underwent surgery to repair injuries to his hands, officials said on Tuesday.
Deputies Wieber and Santamaria were identified by an Alameda County official in December following a public records request filed by Grasswire. Authorities there told Grasswire that both deputies had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
On Tuesday, Gascon said the decision had been made to charge both deputies after a thorough investigation by his office, the San Francisco Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Officials are also looking into allegations of false police reports, theft and witness tampering in connection with the arrest, Gascon said.
“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,” Gascon said in a press release. “When officers take the law into their own hands, they undermine the moral authority of the entire criminal justice system.”
Prosecutors decided earlier this year not to charge Petrov in connection with the incident. Petrov has since filed a legal claim against Alameda County.
“This truly was the worst videotaped beating since Rodney King,” Michael Haddad, the attorney representing Petrov in his lawsuit against Alameda County, told the Los Angeles Times.
Petrov was arrested again in March on federal drug charges following an investigation into an unrelated cyber crime case. Petrov’s attorney in the federal case told reporters it was “gratifying” that the deputies who beat him had finally been charged.