Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Deputies Charged With Assault In Connection With Arrest Of Father, Son

The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.
Claire Trageser
The sign in front of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Administration Center, San Diego, August 13, 2018.
San Diego Deputies Charged With Assault In Connection With Arrest Of Father, Son
San Diego Deputies Charged With Assault In Connection With Arrest Of Father, Son GUEST: Matt Hoffman, reporter, KPBS News

The video was disturbing last May an arrest in Vista was caught on camera by a neighbor. It seemed to show sheriff's deputies using excessive force and taking two men into custody. Now two of the deputies are being charged by the San Diego County district attorney for assault. Joining me is kape CBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Hi Matt. I'm. Remind us what that bystander video showed. Right yeah. Maureen so it was a video posted to social media. It was only around 30 seconds or so so it wasn't the entire view of this incident. And now what the video showed what looked like a number of deputies around five or six that came in. There were two men already in handcuffs. One man was thrown up against the wall. We now know that's the father. There was another man that was on the ground who had a couple of deputies on him and it looked like one of them was repeatedly punching him in the face. Obviously there were you hear people yelling in the video but like I said that was only a very small part of the incident. Now have you talked to the to the family's attorney they say that the body cam video that that is there that shows a lot more that happened and they're hoping that that can be released. We have not seen that body cam video. No we haven't seen any body cam video and we know there's body cam video the sheriff's department told us back in May that they have this but they said they were conducting an internal investigation and they weren't going to release that body camera video. Obviously their internal investigation is over. They handed it over to the DA's office who's now filing charges. So we asked we asked the DA's office if we could have that video. They said no because it's evidence in a criminal case that's pending. So they're not going to be releasing that video. Who knows if we'll be able to see that video hopefully at some point it could come up in the trial or or if there is a trial could come up in court. Now there were my counting six deputies in that bystander video why only two sheriff's deputies charged. You know it's really unclear at this time but like I said the sheriff's department did that an internal review where they had a lot more video it sounds like than just this 30 second video. And a lot of people are saying it looks like there were more officers involved. You hear that from the attorneys and some of the supporters at a news conference yesterday. But it's really unclear there who knows that there could be more to come. But as of right now it looks like after they had looked at the body camera video and that video that was from the bystander they decided to charge two officers right now. Where were the deputies there to begin with what do we know about the reason for the call. Right. So it's it's a little vague but when the sheriff department says there was a woman who called 911 who said she was the victim of domestic violence and who's being held against her will which you know sounds scary. So you can imagine the sheriff's department could have been coming in hot. We don't know. We're not exactly sure what happened now the family and the attorneys will dispute the sheriff's account saying that there was a victim of domestic violence being held against her will. So after all this happened the father ended up going to court we were there that day and the charges were dropped against him and then this son though he eventually pleaded down to getting a domestic violence charge and he ended up getting probation. What are the charges filed against the deputies. Right. So there's two deputies involved here. You have 27 year old Nicholas Morgan who's charged with two misdemeanor counts of unlawful assault. Now he's facing up to two years if convicted. And then you have another deputy 31 year old Joshua Haun ordination who's facing one count of unlawful assault. He's looking at up to a year if convicted. Now I think it's important to note that neither of these officers have been booked as of yesterday Tuesday and they're still on paid administrative assignment. They were placed on that back in May. That's different than paid administrative leave. So they're still working for the department just not in the public view. Now it seems like this is a rare occurrence. The use of force charges filed against law enforcement officers in San Diego. Is that right. This doesn't happen often does it. I mean according to the Union Tribune they say it's the first time in a decade that this has happened and the family's attorney Doug Applegate has told supporters at a news conference yesterday that he was actually surprised. And he told them that this was rare and they were very elated that these charges were filed. Now what did District Attorney summer Stefan have to say when the charges were announced. Right. So they put out a release. She didn't hold a news conference or anything but she did put out a statement saying basically that the use of force exceeded the legal limit and that no one's above the law and they are going to pursue these charges. And what's next. So coming up next they have a hearing. They have an arraignment on Friday and we'll probably learn a lot more on Friday at 8:00 a.m. up in Vista and we should learn some more about these cases. I've been speaking with KPP as reporter Matt Hoffman Matt thank you. Thanks Maureen.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that two sheriff's deputies are facing criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a Vista man and his father, who were arrested on May 7 after the lawmen responded to a domestic violence call.

Deputy Nicholas Morgan, 27, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault without lawful necessity by an officer, and Deputy Joshua Nahan, 31, with one count, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Morgan faces up to two years in jail if convicted, and Nahan could be sentenced to one year in jail if found guilty. Footage shot by a bystander appears to show the deputies manhandling Gerardo Martinez Jr., 24, and Gerardo Martinez Sr., 50, after they were handcuffed. The 22 seconds of footage shows the deputies shoving Martinez Sr. into a wooden fence while his son was pinned on a concrete sidewalk and repeatedly hit in the head.

RELATED: Video Showing Force Used By Vista Sheriff’s Deputies Prompts Investigation

"Law enforcement officers hold a position of trust in our community and are required to abide by the rules in the exercise of their powers,'' District Attorney Summer Stephen said in a statement. "The evidence on which the charges are based shows the force used by the two deputies exceeded the legal line, violating the public trust. For justice to thrive, it is important that no one is above the law.''

The two deputies are scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning at the Vista courthouse.

In mid-May, the District Attorney's Office dropped all charges against Martinez Sr., The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A resisting-arrest charge was dismissed against Martinez Jr., who pleaded guilty in July to a domestic violence-related charge and was sentenced to four years of probation.

San Diego Deputies Charged With Assault In Connection With Arrest Of Father, Son