Body cam footage from the alleged Stangel assault
Body camera footage of Officer Terrance Stangel's telescoping metal baton. Officers told Mission Local that lighter, stronger metal batons can lead to the infliction of far more damage than the older wooden models.

In response to the felony charges the District Attorney filed this week against San Francisco police officer Terrance Stangel for beating a man with a baton last October, the SFPD on Tuesday released the body camera footage of three officers present for the incident. 

The police department also released the 911 call that drew police to the scene. 

In releasing the footage and the 911 call, SFPD Chief Bill Scott said, “To members of the SFPD, I fully support you.” 

“While I steadfastly believe that officers should be held accountable when they violate the law, I feel just as strongly that there needs to be a balance in holding individuals accountable when they assault, physically attack, or unlawfully obstruct police officers in their duty to respond to public safety emergencies,” Scott added in the release. 

The camera footage, however, fails to exonerate officer Stangel, the officer the DA charged with battery and assault on Monday in connection with his beating of an unarmed man, Dacari Spiers, who is Black. But the 911 call establishes the defense that police were responding to a domestic violence incident. It remains unclear if that incident involved Spiers and his girlfriend. 

The body camera footage shows Stangel and his partner, Cuauhtemoc Martinez, who was not charged, rush out of their police car and run toward Spiers and his girlfriend, who were standing close to a car.

As he nears them, Martinez says, “Hey, relax, face the wall.”

He then pushes Spiers. Spiers did not appear to resist arrest. 

“I did not do nothing,” Spiers yells.

“Get on the ground,” one of the officers shouts.

“What the fuck you hit me for?”

“What’d he do?!?” Spiers’s girlfriend screams. 

Within seconds, Stangel whips out his baton and begins to hit Spiers with it, shouting, “on the ground, on the ground!” Spiers falls to the ground and Stangel continues to beat him with his baton, using both hands. Spiers’ girlfriend screams and pleads for the officers to stop. 

“Put your hands behind your back.”

“I didn’t do nothing.”

“I ‘m not doing nothing, I’m not moving.”

Before the footage stops, Spiers moans and yells “fuck” while lying on the ground as the police officers handcuff him. 

The body camera of a third officer shows a similar scene. 

On Monday, Boudin alleged that Stangel’s beating of Spiers was criminal — an “old-fashioned beat-down by a police officer against an unarmed Black man,” he said. 

However, in a recording of the 911 call that police said sent the officers to the scene, a witness sounds convinced that a domestic violence incident was taking place between two people who matched the description of Spiers and his girlfriend. The 911 call, however, does not confirm Spiers was the man being described.

“There’s this guy who’s beating up on this girl,” the witness said. “He’s holding her by the neck — like, dragging her by the neck.” 

“I didn’t see any weapons, but she tried to get away and he got her again,” the woman said when asked if the person she observed had any weapons. 

“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.” 

She describes the man assaulting the woman as wearing black pants and a red and black jacket, and having dreadlocks. In the video, Spiers has dreadlocks and appears to be wearing black pants and a red and black sweatshirt.  

The caller said her friend was recording the incident. The SFPD did not release that video. 

Asked about the video Tuesday evening, DA spokeswoman Rachel Marshall wrote in an email: “Our office was never presented witness cell phone video or domestic violence charges in connection with this incident.” 

She quoted from a police report detailing the 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,’” Marshall wrote.

And as he filed the charges against Stangel for the incident, Boudin said, “There’s no evidence that there was any domestic violence whatsoever.” 

Scott and DA Boudin are scheduled to have a Facebook Live “conversation” hosted by the DA’s office on Wednesday at noon. 

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. And what is this about the SFPD strategically releasing police reports and body cam video? The POA violated the law by releasing police reports to defame Adachi post mortem to promote their own political interests for no discernible public purpose. Is this release of police information likewise a violation of the law or once a criminal case is filed, this is all in the public record?

  2. Here’s the street narrative of this: cop ran up on dude, dude put his hands on the cop, cop responded. He violated, the cop demonstrated. Everyone knows how this story ends.

  3. “there needs to be a balance in holding individuals accountable when they assault, physically attack, or unlawfully obstruct police officers in their duty to respond to public safety emergencies”

    Yes, under the rule of law, accountability takes place in the non-violent adversarial forum of the court room. For the chief to suggest that officers have latitude to exact accountability on the streets is indicative of the disconnect between cop culture and democracy.

    We are finding that just as Wall Street is practically immune to politics, that the cops are likewise insulated from democratic accountability. Government is about protecting property, little else.