SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The trial started Wednesday for two San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies facing criminal charges after an arrest in Vista.
Deputies Nicholas Morgan and Joshua Nahan are charged with assault for what District Attorney Summer Stephan calls illegal actions during the encounter.
Gerardo Martinez Jr. and his father were taken into custody last May after the deputies responded to a domestic violence call.
Martinez Jr.’s girlfriend had called 911 to report being punched by her boyfriend. Part of the 911 call was played for jurors during opening statements Tuesday.
The panel also saw cell phone video of the arrest recorded by a neighbor. The now-viral video shows Deputy Nahan push Martinez Sr. into a fence while handcuffed. Martinez Jr. was repeatedly struck in the head by Deputy Morgan while on a concrete sidewalk.
“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. The evidence on which the charges are based shows the force used by the two deputies exceeded the legal line, violating that public trust. For justice to thrive, it is important that no one is above the law,” Stephan said in November.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department sent a statement to 10News last fall, which read in part, “The Department does not tolerate misconduct of any kind. We have the utmost confidence in the criminal justice system and we will continue to coordinate with and support the District Attorney's Office as these cases move through the judicial process."
If convicted, Deputy Morgan could face up to two years in jail. Deputy Nahan could face one year for misdemeanor assault, if a jury finds him guilty.