San Francisco deputy charged with assault, perjury

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco sheriff's deputy was arrested Friday for allegedly assaulting a hospital patient in an emergency room and then lying in a police report to say the man attacked him, authorities said.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said San Francisco County Deputy Michael R. Lewelling was charged with four felonies, including perjury and filing a false police report, and misdemeanor battery for the Nov. 3 incident.

Court records show Lewelling, 33, filed a police report alleging that the victim attempted to assault him with a wooden cane at San Francisco General Hospital.

Video evidence reviewed by prosecutors on Friday shows a different story.

Prosecutors said the victim can be seen hunched over in a chair sleeping in the Emergency Room's waiting area, where he was scheduled to see a doctor later that day. The video shows Lewelling approaching the victim as he is starting to wake up. When the man attempts to walk away, the deputy grabs the back of his collar, pulls him back into the seat and knocks his cane away.

"A few seconds later, he appears to grab the victim's throat and begins to choke him. The battery continued, and the victim was then placed under arrest," prosecutors said.

"The victim never raised his cane in a threatening manner," they added.

The case against the victim was presented by the Sheriff's Department to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office on Nov. 4. That same day the San Francisco District Attorney's Office declined to charge the case and submitted a request for video evidence of the incident, prosecutors said.

"The fact that a Sheriff's Deputy allegedly battered a patient at San Francisco General Hospital is unnerving," said District Attorney George Gascón. "What's worse is that he's also alleged to have perjured himself on a police report, unforgivable conduct that led to the arrest of the innocent victim."

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