San Francisco, CA – A whistleblower has accused San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office of withholding exculpatory evidence in order to convict San Francisco Police Officer Terrance Stangel of excessive force.
Magen Hayashi, a criminal investigator for Boudin’s office, testified on Thursday that she had been ordered to withhold evidence from the defense by other attorneys in the district attorney’s office, according to KNTV.
Hayashi said she was led to believe she would lose her job if she refused to do what they told her to do in the case against Officer Stangel.
The officer is facing excessive force charges in connection with an incident that occurred in October of 2019 when Officer Stangel was responding to a domestic violence call, KNTV reported.
Prosecutors have alleged that the officer beat Dacari Spiers with his baton unnecessarily and broke the suspect’s wrist and leg, FOX News reported.
Hayashi testified before a San Francisco Superior Court judge on Jan. 27 that there was a female witness who had claimed she saw Spiers beating a woman right before the officer hit him, KNTV reported.
The whistleblower told the judge she hadn’t disclosed that witness’s statement because she was made to believe she would be fired for doing so.
Officer Stangel’s attorney, Nicole Pifari, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against her client on Jan. 24 and cited “prosecutorial misconduct” and “deceptive” methods by Boudin’s office, FOX News reported.
“The DA’s deceit and concealment of real evidence is disturbing, it is corrupt, and it is a violation of public trust. Most importantly, however, it is illegal,” the motion read.
It turned out the witness the prosecution withheld was the same woman who had called 911 to report that Spiers was beating a woman that night, FOX News reported.
Pifari also included a transcript of the witness’s 911 call in her memo of support for the motion to dismiss.
“I would like to report… I think it’s called domestic violence or something because, um, there’s this guy who is beating up on this girl… He’s like, um, holding her like by the neck, like draggin’ her by the neck… She was trying to get away, then he grabbed, and then he got her again,” the woman told the 911 call taker.
Pifari also claimed there was a second witness who gave police a statement with the same story with similar details, FOX News reported.
But Spiers filed a federal lawsuit against the city in February of 2020 that painted a completely different picture of the incident and accused Officer Stangel of having violated his civil rights.
Attorneys claimed he had been “consoling his girlfriend about the theft” of her wallet when officers arrived.
The lawsuit alleged “the two were leaning against the car and were engaged in hugging and kissing each other” when Officer Stangel attacked him, FOX News reported.
Boudin announced charges against Officer Stangel in December of 2020.
San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Hans Moore argued to the judge that the motion to dismiss the charges against the officer as a “giant stinking smokescreen designed to inform the press and general public about the [defense’s] perspective,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The judge issued a gag order on all parties involved in the case so neither side could tell reporters what they thought about the whistleblower’s testimony, FOX News reported.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that judge said that Hayashi’s testimony was unlikely to affect the case against Officer Stangel because no significant evidence appeared to have been withheld; however, she has not yet ruled on the motion to dismiss.
The district attorney was already facing a recall election that was a result of community outrage about skyrocketing crime and Boudin’s unwillingness to keep criminals behind bars.
Supporters of Boudin issued a statement on Friday, KNTV reported.
“The recall campaign must be getting desperate. They’re actually joining forces with lawyers for disgraced police officers. The recall committee is now working against police accountability in their desperation to overturn the last election,” the Friends of Chesa Boudin group wrote.