A San Francisco Sheriff’s Department deputy has been charged with the alleged battery of a patient at San Francisco General Hospital, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced this evening.
Deputy Michael Lewelling, 33, was arrested today on a warrant for four felonies, including perjury, filing a false police report, filing a false instrument and assault, as well as misdemeanor count of battery, prosecutors said.
The arrest was made in connection with a Nov. 3, 2014 incident involving a patient at the hospital who walks with a cane.
Sheriff’s department officials said earlier today that the arrest was made after an approximately six-week investigation by the department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, which was formed in May 2014.
Lewelling filed a police report alleging that the victim attempted to assault him with a wooden cane, prosecutors said.
The victim was arrested on suspicion of felony and misdemeanor charges, and the case was presented to the district attorney’s office on Nov. 4, according to prosecutors.
However, district attorney’s office officials said they declined to charge the case and asked for video evidence, which was presented today.
In the video, the victim, who was waiting for a doctor’s appointment, can be seen sleeping in a chair in the hospital’s emergency room waiting area, prosecutors said.
Lewelling approached the victim as he started to wake up and engages in a conversation, at which point the victim slowly stood up, using a cane for assistance, prosecutors said.
He attempted to walk toward the exit, but Lewelling then allegedly grabbed the back of his collar, pulling him back into his seat and knocking his cane away. He then allegedly grabs the victim’s throat and starts to choke him, before placing the victim under arrest.
Prosecutors said the victim, who was released shortly after his arrest, never raised his cane in a threatening manner.
Bail is set at $138,000 but no court date has been set yet, prosecutors said.
District Attorney George Gascon issued a statement this evening saying that it was “unnerving” that a Sheriff’s deputy allegedly battered a patient.
“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,” Gascon said.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News