DA investigating violent arrest of San Rafael man drinking beer

The Marin County District Attorney is now investigating a violent arrest in San Rafael that sparked large protests when police officers tackled a day laborer to the ground who was drinking a beer on the sidewalk.

In July, officers Daisy Mazariegos and Brandon Nail confronted a man who had an open container on Windward Way, telling him to put his beer down and show his ID. It is a misdemeanor to have an open container on the sidewalk.

Body camera footage shows the man trying to get his identification while standing up, but getting yelled at to sit down.

Nail swears at the man, the video shows, and then the officers grab him and take him to the ground. The video shows Nail hitting the man. His face got bloodied during the takedown. 

He also ended up with a concussion and broken nose, said his attorney, Charlie Dresow. 

Dresow formally requested a criminal investigation into the arrest, and the DA agreed. 

Dresow told TV-station KGO that Nail lied in his police report, writing that the man tried to put the officer in a headlock and strike him, which were not true. 

Prosecutors charged the man with resisting arrest based on Nail's police report, but later dropped the case after seeing the body camera video, KGO reported.

Last Friday, San Rafael Police Chief David Spiller released an open letter to the community about the altercation, for which he took full responsibility, saying that his department is currently conducting an investigation into it.    

 "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."     

Bay City News contributed to this report.