SF supes pause settlement in police abuse case following misconduct allegations by DA investigator
SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday put the brakes on paying out a six-figure civil settlement to a Black man who was beaten by a police officer two years go.
The decision came after an investigator in the district attorney’s office accused her colleagues last week of misconduct in the criminal case against the cop.
The board was set to approve a $700,000 settlement in a civil rights case filed by Dacari Spiers, who was left with broken bones and hospitalized after being struck multiple times with a baton by Officer Terrance Stangel in October 2019.
Stangel is separately being prosecuted by District Attorney Chesa Boudin, for assault and other charges.
But Supervisor Catherine Stefani raised questions about the typically routine civil payout during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting – prompting her colleagues to agree to postpone the settlement until after they review the case in closed session next week.
"I do not feel comfortable approving this settlement given how many significant issues remain unresolved and given the light that was shown on this case when the DA investigator testified in open court," Stefani said during the meeting.
At issue was testimony from district attorney investigator Magen Hayashi, who said on Thursday that the prosecutor in the case against Stangel told her to remove parts of an arrest warrant for the officer that described Spiers abusing his girlfriend before police arrived at the scene.
Hayashi testified: "I was told to remove sections – that it wasn’t relevant."
She added that she felt pressured to sign the amended warrant and that "It was a general understating if you don’t sign these things, you’ll be fired."
Stangel’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing prosecutorial misconduct, including Hayashi’s accusations that she was told to withhold exculpatory information that would have helped the officer’s case.
But Judge Teresa Caffese questioned whether any of the evidence omitted from the warrant would have affected the case. She said the domestic abuse allegations would still be relevant during the trial. Opening statements are scheduled to start Monday.
Caffese issued a gag order and the district attorney’s office cannot comment on the matter.
Nevertheless, Stefani called Hayashi’s accusations "extremely serious."
"I am very concerned about how nonchalantly the underlying domestic abuse case is being brushed aside, as if this victim nor future victims of domestic violence don’t deserve our city to protect them," Stefani said.
Spiers’ attorney in the civil case fired back at the decision to postpone the settlement.
In a statement, Curtis Briggs called Officer Stangel "dangerous to our community" while defending his client as "a kind and gentle soul."
"This settlement did nothing to change SFPD and had no personal or professional impact on Stangel’s daily life," Briggs said. "This was simply a transfer of money from the taxpayer to Dacari and that’s why we can’t stop bad cops in this city."
Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky.