Charges dropped against fired Alameda deputies in SF beating

Fired Alameda County sheriff's deputies Luis Santamaria and Paul Wieber are no longer awaiting trial on charges they beat Stanislav Petrov after chasing him to a San Francisco alley back in 2015.

It turns out San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin quietly dropped all charges back in March. The reason? An expert witness was unavailable because of health issues, and the judge and defense didn't want any more delays.

"It should be a dead case, for a lot of different reasons, but the way that they finally dismissed it was procedural," said Michael Rains, Santamaria's attorney.

Rains said the real reason the case was dropped is because the case has changed prosecutors many times, and that the DA's office just wasn't ready.

The attorney also said the case is weak and that the deputies acted properly, thinking Petrov was armed.

"Under the circumstances, the (deputies) were trying to get his compliance, fully believing that he was armed with a handgun," Rains said.

Michael Haddad, a civil attorney for Petrov said he's angry that the DA dismissed the charges months ago without notifying the public.

"To not aggressively prosecute these guys in the first place was appalling, but then to just slip it under the rug and hope it goes away is inexcusable," Haddad said.

Petrov received a $5.5 million settlement from Alameda County back in 2017. He's in federal prison in Pennsylvania for a drug and gun conviction.

"This district attorney seems to be very anxious to go after police officers. So to see this happen really goes against his philosophical bent," said KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza, a former prosecutor who now work as a defense attorney.

Although the DA could refile charges, Cardoza questioned why that hasn't happened, months later, and why a new expert witness hasn't been substituted in.

"It doesn't pass the smell test," Cardoza said. "What's going on here? The district attorney of San Francisco owes an obligation to tell us why this hasn't been refiled."