Ex-San Rafael officers charged with excessive force; gardener still traumatized from beating

Dan Noyes Image
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Former San Rafael officers charged for beating gardener
"He's still experiencing some of the trauma, the assault, and things are triggers for him and seeing the officers face to face definitely would have been that," the attorney for gardener Julio Lopez said, a year after the bloody confrontation.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Two former San Rafael police officers' own body cameras caught them in a violent confrontation with a Marin County gardener who had been drinking beer on a San Rafael street last year. On Wednesday, they appeared in court for the first time to face felony charges.

It was a tense situation, the former officers and the gardener in the same place for the first time since it happened. And the gardener, Julio Lopez, couldn't take it.

Marin County gardener Julio Lopez was having a beer with his cousins after a long day of work, when the two San Rafael Police officers asked for his ID. He tried to explain in English and Spanish he had to stand to get it from his pocket, but the officers took him to the ground, breaking his nose, causing a concussion and a shoulder injury that required surgery.

RELATED: Marin Co. gardener files federal lawsuit over beating by San Rafael police due to open beer

More than a year later, after both officers lost their jobs -- they appeared in Marin County Superior Court on felony "Assault by a public officer with great bodily injury" and "Making a false statement in a crime report."

The ABC7 I-Team's Dan Noyes tried speaking with both defendants, first with Brandon Nail.

DAN NOYES: "Anything you want to say to the public about what you did that day? Are you ready to apologize to Julio Lopez about what you did? Any comment at all?"

Noyes then asked the other former officer, Daisy Mazariegos, about a moment on the bodycam video when she yelled "Stop."

DAN NOYES: "I just noticed when you said stop on that recording. Was that at Brandon or was that at Julio? Are you ready to apologize to Julio Lopez?"

Mazariegos did not answer.

EXCLUSIVE: San Rafael police officers under investigation after bloody takedown

An investigation is underway after questions about an open container of beer turn into a violent takedown by San Rafael police officers.

Attorneys for both former officers gave the I-Team an idea of their planned defense.

"We have ample evidence that this case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, because the force wasn't excessive. And there were no willful misrepresentations," Brandon Nail's attorney Julia Fox said.

"She's very much looking forward to being exonerated in this case," Daisy Mazariegos' attorney, Christopher Shea said. "And I think that's what's going to happen. I think it's very unfortunate that the district attorney has chosen to do this."

Lopez had to be there as a witness but as court wrapped up, he said he couldn't face the former officers.

"I went to the bathroom, you know, because I don't want, I don't want to see them yet 'cause I feel scared about that. I don't want to see their face," Lopez said.

EXCLUSIVE: Gardener reveals identity, speaks out on clash with San Rafael police over beer

A man allegedly beaten by two police officers in San Rafael that started over beer breaks his silence and also reveals his identity.

Anothony Label, attorney for Julio Lopez, told the I-Team, "It's not something that he's comfortable doing at this time. He's still experiencing some of the trauma, the assault, and things are triggers for him and seeing the officers face to face definitely would have been that."

The preliminary hearing has been delayed for two weeks to work out a potential conflict of interest.

It appears Brandon Nail's attorney may have represented someone who will appear as a witness in the case.

There is also a second track on this case, the federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the gardener.

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