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Sheriff’s Office Under Fire After Video Shows Deputies Beating Man in San Francisco

People are calling for a federal civil rights probe and criminal charges after two Alameda County sheriff’s deputies were caught on camera using their batons to beat a suspected car thief.

by VICE News
Nov 16 2015, 10:05pm

Image via YouTube

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A video that shows police beating a suspected car thief in San Francisco's Mission District has prompted calls for the federal government launch a civil rights investigation, for criminal charges to be filed against the officers involved, and for additional body and dash-cam footage of the incident to be released.

The graphic video, released on Friday by the San Francisco Public Defender's office, shows an incident that occurred early Thursday morning near the intersection of Clinton Park and Valencia Street in San Francisco.

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Two Alameda County sheriff's deputies are seen chasing a man on foot, taking him down, and then beating him repeatedly with batons. The man was unarmed and appeared to attempt to surrender peacefully after realizing that he couldn't outrun the officers. The video is time-lapsed, meaning the encounter lasted longer than it appears in the footage.  

The Alameda County public defender said on Monday that prosecutors should consider filing criminal charges against the pair of deputies. Public Defender Brendon Woods compared the incident to the brutal beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers in 1991. "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," Woods said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Woods called for the two deputies to be suspended, and for the San Francisco district attorney's office and state attorney general's office to launch an investigation. An internal probe by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is already underway.The deputies were have reportedly been placed on paid administrative

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The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and San Francisco police officials could not be reached for comment by VICE News. Alameda County Sheriff's Office representative Sgt. J.D. Nelson told the San Francisco Chronicle that the beating occurred after a car chase that began at around 1:38am on Thursday morning in San Leandro, a suburb east of San Francisco near the Oakland airport. Police say 29-year-old Stanislav Petrov rammed the deputies' cars and knocked one of them over before speeding off.

"[We started] on a 38-minute chase that went from San Leandro, to Oakland, through the streets of Oakland, onto the freeway, over the Bay Bridge and through downtown San Francisco and finally onto Stevenson Street, where the man [crashed] his car and [got] out and [started] running," Nelson said.

Woods, the public defenders, has called for the names of the officers involved to be released to his office, and for federal prosecutors to launch a civil rights investigation. He's also calling for additional police footage of the incident to be made public, and for an an external investigation into the Alameda County Sheriff's Office's use-of-force policies.

A witness to the arrest reportedly contacted the public defender's office to raise concerns about the incident.

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