Man allegedly beaten by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies files lawsuit

Byby Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Man allegedly beaten by Alameda County deputies files lawsuit
The man caught on video being hit by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies is now asking for justice in the form of a federal civil rights lawsuit that names eight deputies.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The man caught on video being hit by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies is now asking for justice in the form of a federal civil rights lawsuit that names eight deputies.

Last Friday, ABC7 News broke the story that one of the deputies was fired. Two others are on paid administrative leave. The other five still work for the department.

The man at the center of this case is Stanislav Petrov. The FBI has called him a career criminal.

On November 12 of last year, he led Alameda County Sheriff's deputies on a 30 mile chase from San Leandro to San Francisco.

During the chase, officials say he rammed a sheriff's vehicle and eventually crashed his car on Stevenson Street in the Mission District. He ran into an alley where video showed him caught and beaten for almost a minute, resulting in a concussion and multiple fractures.

RELATED: Alameda County deputy beating case prompts policy change

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office says those five deputies still working for the department did not do anything that rises to the level of being on paid administrative leave. In addition to the internal affairs investigation that's now underway, a task force is also investigating whether the deputy fired Friday should be charged criminally.

It was the November incident that prompted the federal civil rights lawsuit filed Monday.

In the video you can see Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber hitting Petrov more than 40 times.

In March, Petrov spoke exclusively to ABC7.

"I can't use my hands I can't even text," he said.

The lawsuit names eight deputies.

"It's really important that they measure up to what we expect of them," said civil rights attorney Michael Haddad.

Deputies Santamaria and Wieber are facing criminal charges in connection to the beating. They remain on paid administrative leave. But Friday, the department fired Deputy Shawn Osborne.

In enhanced video you can see Osborne swinging a gold chain that he allegedly took from Petrov after the beating and gave to witnesses to silence them.

"The misconduct allegation of the gold chain versus the use of force investigation are very different," said Sgt. Ray Kelly.

RELATED: Alameda County Sheriff's deputy in beating, bribery case fired

The department will not say whether the alleged bribery is why Deputy Osborne no longer works for the department.

"I was wondering why did it take them so long and when are the criminal charges going to fall," said Haddad.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office says the city's Public Corruption Task Force is currently investigating the bribery allegation.

In the meantime, the Alameda County District Attorney's office says it's looking into other cases Osborne was involved in.

Five other deputies named in the federal civil rights lawsuit are still working for the department.

The lawsuit says deputies high-fived each other after the incident and took a trophy photo of Petrov on the ground. The sheriff's office has called it an evidence photo.

Petrov is in jail on unrelated federal gun and drug charges.

In a statement, Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said:

"The internal affairs and criminal investigations into the Petrov case remain open and active. Thus far, two deputies have been criminally charged and a third deputy no longer works for the agency. We have not officially received the current civil complaint but are aware that it is another part of this case that will need to be addressed. We will continue to do a thorough, fair and cooperative investigation with all involved parties."

Attorney Michael Rains also issued a statement to ABC7 News on Monday after reading the complaint:

"First, anyone who reads this complaint sees, at paragraph 39, that the Plaintiff (and his lawyers) blame the Alameda Deputies for engaging in "unreasonable actions" which "created the situation" in which Deputies SantaMaria, Osborne, and others"unlawfully seized" and used unreasonable force against Petrov. In fact, had Petrov, who was driving a stolen car and carrying a loaded gun, had initially complied with the orders of the Deputies in San Leandro to stop the car and submit to arrest, there would not have been a high speed pursuit lasting 30 miles. Had Petrov put his hands outside of his car when he crashed it in San Francisco, and not taken off running, he would have been handcuffed, and not been struck by batons. Had he followed repeated requests by the Deputies to "show us your hands" and "get on the ground' instead of trying to use his hands and feet to assault Deputies, he would not have been struck. And, by the way, contrary to paragraph 26, at no time did Petrov raise his hands to surrender as he was being chased by Deputy Wieber, just before the Deputy tackled him. Even though Deputy SantaMaria, my client, did not know Petrov's criminal history when the incident occurred, he knew, as a veteran law enforcement officer working patrol in high crime areas, that the man who had assaulted other deputies in San Leandro while driving a stolen car was very likely armed, and would not think twice about assaulting and killing sSantaMaria or his partner if he had any opportunity at all. As it turned out, the man SantaMaria and Wieber chased and arrested was a longtime violent criminal who lost the opportunity to use his loaded handgun on the deputies when it went flying to the floorboard as his car impacted another vehicle, and Petrov bailed out with the intention of doing combat with the pursuing officers with his fists and feet instead. I am confident that the facts, the law, and the video, when properly and objectively analyzed, will support the thinking and decision making of the Deputies in this case."