San Rafael police officer arrested for assault

January 5, 2011 12:54:34 PM PST
A veteran San Rafael police officer accused of assaulting a man at a Petaluma restaurant on New Year's Eve while off duty will appear in Sonoma County Superior Court next week.

Cpl. Michael Augustus, 43, of Petaluma, was arrested on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon at the Kabuki Restaurant and Sushi Bar at 17 Petaluma Boulevard North.

He was booked into Sonoma County Jail but posted $50,000 bail early Saturday morning and was released. He is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 13.

Petaluma police went to the restaurant at about 9:10 p.m. Friday after receiving a report of someone brandishing a firearm, Lt. Mike Cook said.

A man told police he was seated at a table in the restaurant when another man "bumped him" seemingly on purpose, Cook said.

The man said the suspect yelled several obscenities at him and walked out the door, Cook said.

When the man followed the suspect outside, the two men yelled at each other and began pushing each other, Cook said.

The suspect then pulled a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol from his waistband, pointed it at the victim's head and threatened him, Cook said. The victim backed away and the suspect fled, Cook said.

Police found a man running in the area of Liberty Street and took him into custody, Cook said. His clothing and appearance matched the descriptions given by witnesses, and he was carrying a semi-automatic pistol in his waistband, Cook said.

Witnesses identified the man in custody as the suspect, and police initially arrested him for misdemeanor brandishing a weapon, Cook said.

After follow-up interviews with witnesses, the suspect, identified as Augustus, was also arrested for felony assault with a deadly weapon, Cook said.

Police are seeking additional witnesses to the confrontation.

Cook said this morning that the two men do not know each other, and that Augustus was eating at the restaurant by himself.

San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said Augustus has been on the force for 16 years and has been placed on paid administrative leave. The San Rafael Police Department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident, Rohrbacher said.