An African-American man is taking the city of San Francisco to court after he says he was “mercilessly beaten” during a violent encounter with police last year.
Dacari Spiers, 31, announced a federal lawsuit Monday accusing officers of unconstitutional excessive force, assault, negligence and other offenses in the October 2019 incident, NBC Bay Area reports.
In his complaint, Spiers claims he and his girlfriend were leaning against a car in “a loving embrace” as he consoled her after her wallet was snatched during the annual Fleet Week military celebration at Pier 39. That’s when he says at least two officers grabbed him from behind and started beating him with their batons.
Spiers reportedly suffered several injuries in the incident, including a broken leg and wrist, as well as a large gash to his other leg.
“Everything happened kind of fast,” he told reporters at a Monday news conference. “We were enjoying ourselves at Pier 39 like everybody else was.”
Still struggling to recover from his injuries, the local father said he’s been unable to work or even play with his kids.
“This shouldn’t happen to nobody at all regardless of what they [are] and what they work for,” Spiers added.
Spiers’ lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of financial compensation, including punitive damages. A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office declined to address the accusations, saying the matter will be handled in court.
“This matter is still under investigation,” spokesperson John Cote said.
Representation for the officers, who are listed only as “Does ” in the suit, also paint a drastically different picture of the Oct. 6 incident. Police were reportedly responding to a report of domestic violence when they claim Spiers attacked officers.
“Unless it is Mr. Spiers’ practice to ‘comfort’ his girlfriend by putting his hands around her neck, I am confident these officers will be exonerated,” an attorney for the officers, Nicole Pifari, told the San Francisco Examiner, saying police used as much force as was necessary to arrest Spiers.
“The officers may even be congratulated for interrupting a dangerous domestic violence incident,” she added.
The plaintiff’s suit argues otherwise and accuses police of fabricating domestic violence claims in an effort to silence him. It further alleges authorities went so far as to fraudulently obtain an emergency order of protection so Spiers’ girlfriend couldn’t visit him while he recovered at the hospital.
Police have also declined to release body-camera video and Muni bus video of the incident, according to the complaint.
“We want these officers prosecuted for the brutal beating and intimidation of our client,” said Jamir Davis, one of Spiers’ attorneys. “We want the truth to come out and the only way to do that is by transparency and by filing this lawsuit.”
The incident remains under investigation.