The San Rafael Police Department was already under scrutiny over depositing an obviously mentally ill homeless man in SF, but now two other officers are on leave for an incredibly violent, brutal response to a day laborer who had an open container of beer.
San Rafael police had one public-relations black eye already this summer, and even face possible legal action, over a late August case where an officer allegedly cruised down to San Francisco to drop off an unsheltered man suffering from mental illness and pretty much declare him SF’s problem. Well, that police department just created more work for the San Rafael city attorney. We now have a snowballing new scandal where Officers Daisy Mazariegos and Brandon Nail seem to have beat and bloodied up a day laborer over an open bottle of beer, and allegedly lied on their report that the victim had attacked them first.
And they might have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for that meddling Dan Noyes and the ABC 7 I-Team. The assault of an officer charges against the day laborer identified as “Mateo” have been dropped by the Marin County District Attorney. And now it is the officers who may face charges.
Dan Noyes and company took up the cause in a September 1 report of the incident. (That article has been updated several times, because lordy have there been developments since.) As seen in the KPIX video above, which has some graphic footage, Mateo and a few of his associates are lounging and drinking beers, yes, in public, and from open containers. But is that law even being enforced anymore?
Officer Mazariegos orders the gentlemen to sit down, then asks Mateo to produce ID. He has trouble pulling it from the pockets of his jeans while sitting down, so he stands up to better access his pockets. He then finds himself punched repeatedly in the nose, and then has his face ground into the pavement by Officer Nail.
If you doubt this account of things, the Marin Independent Journal has full bodycam video, which again, is graphic video.
Body can video of violent police encounter now under investigation in San Rafael @marinij pic.twitter.com/ut0MZZPAte— Alex N. Gecan (@GeeksterTweets) September 7, 2022
The officers’ description of the incident claimed that Mateo "reached his right arm around the back of my neck and started to squeeze in an attempt to put me in a headlock," and added, "he began to swing his right hand at my head, striking me several times on the left side and back of my head.” But in light of the bodycam video showing nothing of the sort, now KTVU reports that the San Rafel District Attorney has opened an investigation into the incident.
"There was no striking of the officer, there was no headlock," Mateo’s attorney Charles Dresow told KGO.
Full house at San Rafael City Hall, biggest crowd they’ve seen in quite awhile asking “Justice for Mateo”. Got comment from Police Chief; taking it seriously. pic.twitter.com/1YUZKD6YDC— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) September 7, 2022
This all led to a rather animated San Rafael City Council meeting Tuesday night, where the Latinx community showed in large volumes to give a big earful. “The overflow crowd spilled out of the council chambers and into the lobby, and even more speakers called in online to speak to the council during public open time,” the Marin Independent Journal reported Wednesday, adding, “The discussion was not part of the city’s scheduled agenda.”
Several media platforms have reported on an incident in San Rafael. Read Chief Spiller's open letter to the community at https://t.co/XTnsA76lNV— San Rafael Police Department (@SanRafaelPolice) September 2, 2022
San Rafael Police Chief David Spiller released a statement on the matter, using the old “Several media platforms” language.
“A recently publicized incident involving the San Rafael Police Department has raised legitimate community concerns,” Chief Spiller said in the statement. "I want to assure members of the San Rafael community that our department cares deeply about the community's feelings concerning this matter. Rudeness, lack of professionalism, or any unnecessary force are all examples of expressly prohibited conduct and such behavior is not-at-all condoned in our delivery of public safety services. The SRPD is conducting a thorough investigation of this incident.”
FALLOUT FROM I-TEAM REPORT: Two San Rafael police officers involved in a bloody takedown of a man with an open beer have been placed on paid administrative leave. Chief says "actions and conduct of all department members involved are being examined." https://t.co/NiPshZKdE0— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) September 2, 2022
As Dan Noyes notes above, the “FALLOUT” over the incident continues. The two officers are now on paid leave. And as KTVU adds, Mateo’s attorney “formally requested a criminal investigation into the arrest, and the DA agreed.”
Related: San Rafael Police Officer Seen Dropping Off Homeless, Mentally Ill Man In San Francisco [SFist]
Image: San Rafael Police Department via Facebook