Moral Low Ground


Video: Alameda Deputies Viciously Beat Surrendering Auto Theft Suspect Stanislav Petrov

Stanislav Petrov beating video

Two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies have been placed on leave following the posting of a YouTube video allegedly showing them brutally beating a suspected car thief in San Francisco last Thursday.

The Contra Costa Times reports the two unnamed deputies were captured on a surveillance video viciously striking 29-year-old San Leandro resident Stanislav Petrov with batons and with their fists in an alley in San Francisco’s Mission district following a high-speed chase that began around 1:30 a.m. in unincorporated San Leandro. Petrov is accused of stealing a Mercedes-Benz and leading law enforcement officers on a 40-mile (64-km) pursuit in which the suspect allegedly reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h). Authorities also said Petrov was wanted on multiple felony warrants.

Footage of the assault was posted on YouTube by the San Francisco Public Defender’s office. It shows two deputies chasing a man on foot, who then slows down and is tackled by one of the officers. As the second deputy arrives, he begins striking the downed suspect with his baton. Both deputies then unleash a furious assault on the suspect, who is down on the ground screaming and pleading in agony as he endures at least 30 brutal blows all over his body. The beating victim can be seen trying to surrender as the onslaught continues.

“He didn’t pose any threat at that point, and they are clearly using excessive force and trying to seriously hurt him when he was on the ground and subdued,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi told reporters on Friday. “I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be handcuffed and taken into custody.”

Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson told reporters that deputies believed Petrov, who he claims rammed their patrol cars and knocked down a deputy, was armed and possibly high on drugs. Police say a gun and drugs for sale were recovered from the stolen Mercedes.

Petrov is recovering in San Francisco General Hospital. Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods, who visited the victim on Sunday, told KQED that Petrov suffered several broken bones in both of his hands or arms and multiple lacerations to the back of his head.

“I was shocked, outraged and disgusted,” said Woods. “I counted over 30 baton strikes. I’m not sure what facts would justify that sort of brutal beating.” Woods said that the incident reminded him of another notorious California police beating caught on video.

“The surveillance video footage is disgusting and reminds me of Rodney King,” Woods said. “Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting. This is clearly excessive force.”

CBS San Francisco reports the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco District Attorney’s office and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office are all investigating the incident.

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