DA charges San Rafael police officers after bloody arrest of day laborer

Two San Rafael police officers associated with a bloody arrest last summer are being charged with assault and making false statements, the Marin County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.   

Officers Brandon Nail and former Officer Daisy Mazariegos are being charged with assault by an officer under color of authority and making false statements on a crime report, the District Attorney's Office said.     

The encounter between the officers and a man began on July 27, 2022, and the whole interaction was captured on a police body camera.     

On the video, Julio Lopez, a day laborer, can be seen on an industrial side street in the Canal District of San Rafael sitting on the curb with two of his friends. They are drinking beer.     

Mazariegos asked the men what they were doing and they respond, "nothing."     

Mazariegos pointed out the open containers of beer and asked to see one man's identification.     

At that point, Officer Nail arrives. As the man stands up, seemingly to get his ID from his pants, Nail can be heard yelling, "Hey, sit the f--- down!"     

Mazariegos again asked to see the man's ID, but he said he couldn't get it unless he stood up. As he does so, Mazariegos tells him to sit down and then 

Nail forces him to the ground, punches him in the nose and pushes his face into the asphalt.     

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As the man is taken to the squad car, his face bright red with blood, he can be heard saying "I didn't do anything."       

At the time, Police Chief David Spiller released an open letter to the community about the altercation, for which he took full responsibility, saying that his department would be conducting an investigation into it.     

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"I am both personally and professionally concerned about this incident and how it impacts the trust our department has worked hard to build in this community," reads the letter. "I want to assure all members of the San Rafael community that not only is this incident being critically examined, but we will examine our behaviors, including that of our leadership, and for those department members that have fallen short, they will be held accountable."       

The San Rafael City Council earlier this month unanimously approved the creation of a Police Advisory and Accountability Committee, which is independent of the police yet will hold, as yet, largely undefined powers beyond increasing transparency.   

Lopez is currently suing the city, alleging excessive force, unreasonable search and seizure, and negligence.   

Nail and Mazariegos are scheduled to appear in court Aug. 11.