The San Francisco District At-torney has charged a San Francisco sheriff’s deputy with four felonies and a misdemeanor after the officer allegedly battered a San Francisco General Hospital patient late last year.
Deputy Michael R. Lewelling, 33, was on duty November 3 with the Sheriff’s patrol unit at the hospital when the alleged incident occurred. The deputy approached a patient, who was hunched over and waking up in a chair located in the emergency room waiting area, according to video evidence obtained by DA George Gascon’s office. The patient was waiting to see a doctor. The deputy appeared to have a conversation with the patient-victim, who stood slowly using a wooden cane. As the victim tried to exit the hospital Lewelling grabbed his collar, pulled him back into his seat and knocked his cane away, the video appears to show. Lewelling then grabbed the victim’s throat and choked him. The battery continued until the deputy arrested the patient.
Lewelling detained the victim under felony and misdemeanor of-fenses. The next day the Sheriff’s Department turned the case over to the DA’s office to file charges. Lewelling’s report alleged that the victim tried to assault him with the cane, according to court records. The DA’s Office asserted that Lewelling falsified the police report.
The DA’s Office declined to charge the victim when the Sheriff’s Department presented the case on November 4, and requested video surveillance from the hospital. As a result of the video evidence, which was provided on December 19, Sher-iff’s officials released the patient from custody.
“The fact that a Sheriff’s Deputy allegedly battered a patient at San Francisco General Hospital is un-nerving,” Gascon said in a statement. “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.”
The DA’s office charged Lewel-ling with four felonies, including perjury, filing a false police report, filing a false instrument and assault under the color of authority. Gascon’s office also charged the deputy with a misdemeanor count of battery. Lewelling’s bail has been set at $138,000.