Charges Dropped Against Man Who Police Wrongfully Detained, Then Hit '15 to 25' Times

Charges have been dropped against a San Francisco man arrested last February for allegedly assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest following an altercation that sent the man to a hospital with several bruises and a fractured cheekbone.

In February 2021, Sergio Lugo was stopped and questioned by officers who were looking for suspects in a nearby burglary, according to The Associated Press. After officers said they intended to search him, Lugo said they had no right to do that and told the two officers he was going to walk away.

"Without any verbal warning, the two officers grabbed his arm, kicked his legs out from under him, and pinned him on the ground," the public defender's office, representing Lugo, said.

A third officer who observed the incident and intervened said he recalled hitting Lugo 15 to 25 times.

The officers alleged that they approached Lugo after seeing a metal object in his hands, which after Lugo was pinned to the ground was revealed to be an X-Acto knife, and the object allegedly caused cuts to one officer's hand and leg.

Lugo was hit with several charges as the officers alleged he attacked them and stabbed one officer while resisting arrest.

Earlier this week, Lugo's attorneys said the officers detained Lugo without proof he had committed a crime, and the prosecution agreed to drop the case.

San Francisco Police Brutality Sergio Lugo
This image released by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office shows Sergio Lugo recovering in the hospital with bruises, lacerations, and a fractured cheekbone after an encounter with San Francisco police officers. Lugo was falsely accused of assaulting a San Francisco police officer who along with two other officers illegally detained him in Feb. 2021 after beating him up, the public defender's office said Wednesday San Francisco District Attorney via AP

Police Chief Bill Scott said Wednesday that he was disappointed by the dropping of charges against a man he said "violently assaulted" officers, leaving injured.

"These kinds of attacks are unacceptable and shouldn't be tolerated by our criminal justice system," Scott said in a statement. "When they are, it sends a dangerous message that emboldens criminals to use violence — and not just against police officers."

Lugo's attorney said she has filed a complaint with the Department of Police Accountability on his behalf.

After Lugo's arrest, the San Francisco Police Department released a statement saying two officers had been injured when trying to detain Lugo, who became combative and produced a razor blade.

The department said Lugo had attacked the officers, stabbing an officer in his left hand and left knee and that the other officer had been injured in his hand during the struggle.

Lugo was booked into San Francisco County Jail on charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of methamphetamine and possession of burglary tools.

The public defender's office said that when police first encountered Lugo, he was holding a silver object in his hand, which police thought was a vape pen.

"All parties agree that when police pinned Mr. Lugo, the cap fell off, revealing that it was an X-acto Knife — a small pen-shaped tool with a sharp edge often used in crafts. The sharp edge caused superficial cuts to one officer's pinkie and knee, but the officers' blows to Mr. Lugo's head sent him to the hospital with bruises, lacerations, and a fractured cheekbone," the office said.

Lugo was later charged with assault on an officer, exhibiting a deadly weapon to resist arrest, and three counts of resisting arrest using force. He spent over four months in jail.

"We carefully reviewed all the evidence in this case, including statements, surveillance, the fact that police officers were not wearing body worn cameras, inconsistencies in police officer statements, the fact that Mr. Lugo was behaving lawfully when stopped by police, and the photos of the injuries of all parties—which depicted severe injuries to Mr. Lugo, whom police badly beat during this encounter—and it was clear that this was not a provable case," said Rachel Marshall, spokeswoman for San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.