San Francisco D.A. Accused of Withholding Evidence in Prosecution of Police Officer

Chesa Boudin (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Eric Risberg / Associated Press

The office of the San Francisco District Attorney has been accused of withholding potentially exculpatory evidence in a case against a police officer charged with using excessive force, as a whistleblower told a court she feared being fired if she included it.

Officer Terrance Stangel is on trial for beating a black man, Dacari Spiers, with his baton after responding to a 911 call reporting a domestic violence incident at Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular tourist destination. Radical left-wing D.A. Chesa Boudin filed charges in December 2020, implying that the officer was racist: “This case is an example of an officer unnecessarily escalating a situation and then violently beating a Black man whom he had no legal basis to even arrest.”

Magen Hayashi, an investigator for the D.A.’s office, testified Thursday that she had signed an affidavit to show probable cause for the prosecution though she excluded evidence from a witness who saw the alleged victim assaulting his girlfriend.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Hayashi said she was pressured to sign the affidavit against Stangel after removing exculpatory information.

Asked who pressured her, she said, “It was a general understanding in my experience in this office, if you don’t sign these things you’ll be fired.”

[Defense attorney Nicole] Pifari also alleged that the prosecution of her client was politically motivated by Boudin, who ran a campaign on a platform of reforming the criminal justice system and prosecuting police for excessive uses of force. Parts of the defense’s allegations, however, precede Boudin’s time in office.

The claim that Boudin — and his predecessor — withheld evidence is being taken seriously enough by police that Chief William Scott sent an email to officers throughout the department, saying the claim was of “serious concern” to him.

However, the judge said that both the prosecution and the defense had access to the same evidence of allegations of domestic violence, and did not dismiss the case. The trial is set to begin Monday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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