SAN FRANCISCO — Three San Francisco police officers, including the acting chief's son who is no longer on the force, were arraigned Thursday on new charges stemming from a street fight.
Alex Fagan Jr., Matt Tonsing and David Lee face charges of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a November incident involving two men who were beaten up outside a restaurant. Fagan Jr. also faces charges of public drunkenness, while Lee is accused of drunken driving.
The case attracted widespread attention because Fagan is the son of acting Police Chief Alex Fagan and because the original indictments alleged a cover-up among the department's top brass. A judge later dismissed those charges citing lack of evidence.
The three men, dressed in dark suits and ties, pleaded innocent to all charges during a brief hearing Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court.
Fagan Jr. is no longer on the force, after failing to complete his probationary period within the required 126 weeks. Lee has been on medical leave since being involved in an on-duty car crash in June 2002, and Tonsing is on leave pending the outcome of the case.
District Attorney Terence Hallinan re-filed charges against the men nearly five months after they were first indicted. Hallinan said the department stonewalled his investigation and the only way to uncover the truth was through a grand jury. Defense lawyers are not allowed at grand jury proceedings.
"New information has come to light, including evidence of intoxication," Hallinan said Wednesday. "We cannot amend the grand jury indictment to include this evidence and so we have no choice but to file a complaint."
But Jim Collins, who represents Fagan Jr., accused Hallinan of wasting time and resources and denied the existence of new evidence.
"They spent months in an investigation that took taxpayers' time and money," Collins said Thursday outside court. "Then they have the audacity to say they have new evidence. They have no new evidence."
Defense lawyers also said they're considering accusing Hallinan of vindictive prosecution, while prosecutors asked the judge to order Fagan Jr., Tonsing and Lee to stay away from the men who were beaten.