Anyone who has flipped on the new season of “Black Mirror” — a popular, and very dark, sci-fi series on Netflix — may have noticed perhaps the darkest moment of Episode Two: a real-life clip of two Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies brutally beating a man in a Mission District alley in November 2015.
The video footage, which captured the beating, shows the deputies chase a man, later identified as then-29-year-old Stanislav Petrov, into the alley, tackle him and relentlessly beat him with nightsticks, even though he had surrendered, was unarmed, and wound up writhing, incapacitated, on the ground.
Petrov had allegedly led the deputies on a half-hour chase at 2 a.m. in a stolen car starting in Castro Valley, moving over the Bay Bridge and ending in the Mission District alley on the corner of Clinton Park and Stevenson Street.
The “Black Mirror” scene takes place in a schoolyard, and a young boy shows the clip to a circle of friends on his tablet, describing in amusement the events as they unfold.
“Turn it off, Trick, it’s gross,” one of his friends says.
The main character of the episode, a young girl, then walks up and asks what the kids are watching. After she begs the older boy to show her the video, a girl in the group says, “You’re better off not seeing it — I wish I never did.”
The episode revolves largely around a mother who controls what her daughter watches, and the video — while it only appears briefly in the episode — was clearly chosen because it offered an extreme example of the effect watching violence can have on a viewer.
The episode also offers a reminder of what’s ahead in the case. A preliminary hearing for a criminal trial against the two deputies, Paul Wieber and Luis Santamaria, is set for Jan. 17, according to District Attorney Spokesperson Max Szabo.
In May 2016, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón charged Wieber and Santamaria with assault with a deadly weapon, assault under color of authority, and battery. Seven months later, in December, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department fired the officers.
Earlier in July, the department fired Deputy Shawn Osborne for allegations that he bribed witnesses with a gold chain he took from Petrov during the incident. No criminal charges were filed against him.
Following the incident, the FBI raided Petrov’s house twice. In March, Petrov was arrested after agents seized four ounces of methamphetamine and a firearm from his Visitacion Valley residence, but he was later released.
The FBI placed him in custody again that April during another raid at his home, hours after a man, 27-year-old Christopher Perez-Melo, was shot multiple times while standing near the residence. Petrov remains in jail on federal weapons and drug charges.
In April 2017, Alameda County agreed to pay Petrov $5.5 million to settle a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff’s office for violating Petrov’s civil rights. Six deputies — including Wieber, Santamaria and Osborne — were named in the lawsuit.