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Criminal assault charges filed against 2 deputies

VISTA, Calif. -- 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.

"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.