San Francisco prosecutor charges deputy in hospital assault: report

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 20, 2014 6:01 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco District Attorney's office charged a sheriff's deputy on Friday for allegedly attacking a hospital patient and covering it up with a false police report, according to officials and local media.

District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement on Twitter that his office charged officer Michael Lewelling with assault and perjury in connection with the incident at San Francisco General Hospital.

The attorney's office could not be immediately reached for comment or to provide additional details.

The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reported that the patient was sleeping in the hospital's emergency room as Lewelling, 33, walked toward him early on Nov. 3 and started talking to him.

The man attempted to walk away as Lewelling grabbed his collar, knocked away the man's cane, choked him, and arrested him, the paper said citing the attorney's office.

The paper reported that Lewelling then wrote in a police report that the man first attacked him, a claim that was contradicted by hospital surveillance video reviewed by prosecutors.

"The fact that a sheriff's deputy allegedly battered a patient at San Francisco General Hospital is unnerving," District Attorney George Gascón said, according to the Chronicle.

"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," he added.

The San Francisco County Sheriff's Department could not be immediately reached for comment, but told the Chronicle in a statement that it "is committed to holding its employees accountable for their conduct."

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner)