Caught on Tape: The Savage Beating of Stanislav Petrov

November 18, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Two Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies chase a man down an alley in San Francisco, California on November 12. One cop tackles the man and the two begin a merciless beating lasting more than a minute. Blow after blow rain down on the man who is clearly not resisting, lying curled on the ground or with his hands above his head. Again and again loud, sickening thuds are heard as the cops strike him repeatedly in his head, arms and body. All of this is captured on video and posted online by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. As of November 18 it had more than a quarter million views on YouTube.

People in the area were woken in the middle of the night to the savage beating taking place in the alley below. "I heard just loud smack, smack, smacks. I really thought they were gunshots 'cause they were super loud,” a witness told ABC News 7.

The victim, 29-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Stanislav Petrov, was still in the hospital as of Sunday, November 14. He was visited there by Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods. “From his elbow through his hands are swollen. It looks like he has several broken bones in both of his hands or arm areas,” Woods told Bay Area CBS-TV.

"The surveillance video footage is disgusting and reminds me of Rodney King," Woods said in a statement. "Those deputies viciously attacked a man who appeared to be surrendering. They beat him with their batons even though he was not resisting. This is clearly excessive force."

The video of the incident was not the result of any police investigation. Instead it was tracked down by people who live nearby and heard about the attack. The video was turned over to the Public Defender’s Office.

“This is some sadistic shit!!! I guarantee they say it was ‘justified.’ This needs to be out there,” one viewer commented on YouTube. Sure enough, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff said that the officers thought that Petrov was high on drugs so they didn’t know what he might be capable of. The two cops have been placed on “paid administrative leave” (aka vacation). The names of these brutal cops have not been released.

The brutality captured on the video is NOT an isolated incident but is the standard operating procedure for police. California, by far, leads the nation in murders by police, and the Bay Area and Northern California are a big part of the tally of victims of this growing epidemic.

So far in 2015, the San Francisco Police have killed five people, including three Latinos and one woman; senior officers have been caught falsifying evidence, and texting racist and homophobic messages; and jailers were exposed for staging gladiator fights among inmates and forcing them to perform sexual acts. A study in 2012 found that African Americans, who make up 6 percent of San Francisco's population, are seven times more likely to be arrested than whites. 
San Jose Police have killed eight people in 2015 (including one man they shot in the back and then lied about him reaching for his waistband), and three people have died in the county jail (in one case three jailers were charged with murder). In neighboring Sunnyvale, three people have been killed by police this year.

Everywhere across the country, police are killing, brutalizing and getting away with it. This must stop! And that is up to us—all of us. Stepping into the streets, challenging the millions who do not like what the police are doing, but have not yet stepped out: Which Side Are YOU On?!


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