SF DA to drop fourth charge against officer acquitted in excessive force case

SFPD Officer Terrance Stangel (right) is accused of excessive force in the beating of Dacari Spiers (right) on Fisherman's Wharf in 2019.

The San Francisco district attorney’s office has agreed to drop a pending charge against police officer Terrance Stangel – who was acquitted of three counts of assault and battery this week

The jury on Monday acquitted Stangel on three charges related to the beating of Dacari Spiers on Fisherman’s Wharf in 2019, but the panel hung on a fourth charge of assault under color of authority. Jurors told the court they were deadlocked after voting several times 9-to-3 in favor of acquittal. 

Stangel’s attorneys said the district attorney’s office is set to officially drop the charges during a hearing this coming Monday. 

Rachel Marshall, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said prosecutors agreed to drop the charges after speaking with Spiers. 

The case against Stangel marked the first time an SFPD officer was charged for an on-duty use-of-force incident and inflamed tensions between District Attorney Chesa Boudin – who campaigned to be tougher on cops – and Police Chief Bill Scott.

The case centered on the altercation that began when Stangle and his partner responded to a domestic violence call.

The officers arrived on scene and approached Spiers who was with his girlfriend. Stangel’s partner, Officer Cuauhtemoc Martinez, confronted Spiers and got into a physical altercation and fell to the ground. Stangel hit Spiers at least seven times with his baton during the melee, breaking Spiers’ wrist and leg. 

The case turned into a political controversy even before the trial started. During a pretrial hearing, district attorney investigator Magen Hayashi testified that she was told by prosecutors to remove details about Spiers abusing his girlfriend from Stangel’s arrest warrant.

Hayashi's testimony and other revelations about the case incensed Police Chief Bill Scott who accused the district attorney’s office of not cooperating with investigations.

The chief then took the dramatic step of severing an agreement between the officers that gave lead authority to the district attorney’s office to investigate police shootings and brutality cases. 

Both sides have agreed to a temporary deal while they work to negotiate a new deal between the offices. 

The city recently settled a civil case with Spiers for $700,000. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at evan.sernoffsky@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky