A reemerging video from July 2, 2017, appears to show an officer use racist language against a Black man near People’s Park.
Originally recorded by Berkeley Copwatch six years ago, an officer with a name badge labeled “D. Marble,” bearing a triple-chevron sergeant badge, can be seen during a brief questioning telling a Black man: “Don’t give me that ‘Black’ crap,” before detaining the man and placing him in handcuffs for approximately two minutes. Berkeley Copwatch identified the officer as BPD Sgt. David Marble.
Marble is currently the center of a civil lawsuit in federal court after allegedly assaulting, and using racial slurs against an Antioch man, who is Black, while off-duty in July 2022, according to the lawsuit and as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the lawsuit, after the man prepared to call 911 on the off-duty officer, Marble allegedly returned with, cocked and pointed a government-issued gun at the plaintiff, stating that he “was the law.” The city of Berkeley was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
BPD did not respond to a request for comment on the July 2017 video. In response to a request for comment from BPD, city of Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko provided The Daily Californian with a statement asserting that the city takes all allegations of police conduct seriously, “regardless of whether an officer is off duty.”
Chakko also confirmed that Sgt. David Marble is currently on full duty.
“Our expectation is that everyone in the department treats everyone with the utmost respect,” Chakko said in the statement.
Chakko noted in an email statement that community members may file complaints with BPD or request independent review by the director of the Office of Police Accountability, or OPA. According to Berkeley Copwatch, it is not clear whether legal action or a complaint was pursued over this incident.
However, OPA Director Hansel Aguilar noted complaints must be filed within 90 days of the incident, or within 180 days subject to the approval of the Police Accountability Board. Since the incident allegedly occurred more than six years ago, an independent review wouldn’t be possible unless there were certain extenuating circumstances that prevented the individual from filing in a timely manner.
Multiple members of the Police Accountability Board confirmed they had received and viewed the July 2017 video either Monday or Tuesday.
The reemergence of the video comes amid several controversies with BPD. For example, the city recently announced the conclusion of an investigation after text messages from a Bike Patrol Unit group were leaked by a former officer in November 2022. While a probe by outside-hire lawyers found no “practice of racial bias,” very few details of the investigation’s findings were publicly shared.
Data from the state controller showed that in 2022, seven out of 10 of the highest paid officials in Berkeley were police officers, with some making over $400,000 in one year due to overtime amid staffing shortages.
Berkeley Copwatch released a letter Monday calling for Berkeley residents to attend Tuesday’s city council meeting to vocalize opposition to Marble. City council members have been on recess since July, and in that time three sitting council members have announced bids for mayor in 2024.
The organization released a set of demands for the city, including the removal of Marble as an active-duty officer and a request for the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office to reconsider hate crime charges against Marble.
Antioch police investigated the July 2022 incident at the center of the federal lawsuit, referring misdemeanor charges of battery and exhibiting a concealable firearm in public against Marble to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. However, the DA did not file due to “insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”