A video showing two sheriff's deputies using their fists and batons to batter a suspect who seemed to be surrendering in a San Francisco alley has prompted two Bay Area public defenders to call for criminal charges against the officers.
The beating comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of police use of force after several high-profile confrontations with suspects that triggered protests across the country over the past two years.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office said 26-year-old Stanislav Petrov had fled authorities in a suspected stolen car, rammed a police cruiser, and led officers on a high-speed chase before the arrest.
Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods called the beating "disgusting" and said in a statement on Sunday it reminded him of the 1991 police beating of Rodney King.
"Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting," said Woods, whose office would likely defend Petrov against criminal charges. "This is clearly excessive force."
The security camera video, which was uploaded on YouTube on Friday by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, shows Petrov running into the alley in San Francisco's Mission District before he slows and is tackled by one of the two Alameda County Sheriff's deputies.
The pair can then be seen punching and hitting him with batons at least three dozen times as he screams. At points in the video, Petrov can be seen trying to stand, surrendering and shielding himself from the blows.
Alameda County Sheriff Sergeant J. D. Nelson said the incident started around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday in San Leandro, when deputies were checking on a stolen vehicle.
Nelson said Petrov fled and rammed a sheriff's cruiser, causing a deputy to suffer minor injuries, before a 38-minute chase that ended with Petrov crashing into a parked car and fleeing on foot.
Nelson said Petrov had a criminal history and would face numerous charges. He said two deputies were placed on administrative leave as an investigation unfolds.
"The video concerns everyone," Nelson said.
The San Francisco Public Defender's Office said in a statement on Monday it agreed with its Alameda County counterpart, adding: "Prosecutors must pursue criminal charges against the deputies."
A spokeswoman for the San Francisco Public Defender's Office said Petrov was still in the hospital on Monday recovering from broken bones in his hands and arms and lacerations to his head.
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