By Alana Bleimann
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Days after civilian and enforcement witnesses testified against Deshon Marman, public defender Diamond Ward called Marman to the stand to share his side of the story Thursday in San Francisco County Superior Court.
Marman’s trial began last week with a long and tedious jury selection process. With the jury selected, multiple witnesses have come forward to share their testimony with the court.
Officer Duffield and Officer Tang shared their experience encountering Marman on the afternoon of the incident in September of 2020.
Now, Marman was able to share his story.
“I’m a little bit nervous, I’ve never testified in front of a jury before,” Marman said when public defender Diamond Ward asked how he was feeling.
On the stand, he revealed that he was 30 years old and was born and raised by his mother and six siblings in Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco, California.
In high school Marman played football, basketball, and ran track, however football was his favorite sport to play and he managed to obtain a Division 1 scholarship to continue playing at the University of New Mexico.
Additionally, Marman was studying business and wanted to be an entrepreneur.
“School wasn’t working out,” said Marman, and he eventually gave up schooling to pursue his dream of playing football professionally with the NFL.
But before he could even showcase his skills to NFL coaches, Marman became involved in a shooting near his home in Bayview.
“I was hanging out… in front of the garage talking with friends… up the street there was a car accident and two parties got out and argued,” he explained, adding that the next thing he knew, a weapon was drawn and shots were fired. One struck Marman in the back, traveling through his left arm.
This event left him extremely traumatized, he said, and he was never the same again.
“I was trying to change my life at the time,” Marman said, “I went from being really excited… about my future to thinking I was going to die.”
While recovering in the hospital, it “took weeks for me to not wake up in the middle of the night… urinate on myself… screaming and crying… thinking I was gonna die,” he said. To this day, Marman still has trouble sleeping and deals with intense nightmares.
Additionally, Marman struggles with anxiety. “I’m always thinking I’m in danger when I hear loud noises…fireworks and things like that. I start to sweat a lot, it’s hard to breathe, it feels like you’re gonna die or faint or pass out.”
Public defender Ward proceeded to question Marman about the night of the Safeway incident. Even though Marman couldn’t remember most of the incident, he was able to paint a clear picture of what had happened for the jury.
Coming from Bayview, he needed to get downtown to “access local services” to aid him through a period of homelessness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After falling asleep on the bus, Marman ended up on North Point St. and decided to head into Safeway “to get a light snack, get in and get out.”
“I had a craving for cheese out of nowhere,” Marman explained when questioned what kind of snack he got.
After heading to the cheese aisle, “I was approached by a female security officer… who told me I had to get out right now because I couldn’t be in the store,” Marman said.
This guard never told Marman why he had to leave, causing him to feel surprised. “I was kinda almost shocked, I thought ‘wow’ I was being discriminated against,” he stated.
In response to the guard’s request, Marman said, “Huh? All right.” From there Marman headed to the back of the store to retrieve a suitcase he left on the ground.
“I made it a point to get my things and go,” he said, but noted the guard continued following and yelling at Marman to “get out.”
Thinking she was afraid he was not paying for the cheese, Marman stated “I’m gonna pay, I have money” and proceeded to show her his wallet, but he said, “She kept telling me to get out, get out, get out” so Marman left, forgetting the cheese was still in his hands.
Even after he left the store, the female guard followed him out saying “give me the cheese and don’t come back.” Marman gave the cheese back to her, but was still in shock over what was happening to him.
The guard “was real rude, aggressive; she clearly did not want me there,” Marman told the jury. Marman added he wanted to tell her that her actions were not acceptable as well as to alert others around him of the situation at hand.
“That’s fine! I don’t wanna shop somewhere that’s being racist,” Marman told the guard, who he said became visibly upset and angry. “She just snapped” and began getting physical with him, adding the guard started pushing and shoving him, who never retaliated or touched her back.
“Please don’t put your hands on me,” Marman told the guard politely, but “she proceeded to grab me by my arms, trying to take me down,” he explained.
Becoming afraid for his safety and for his life Marman ran from the Safeway, but quickly realized the guard was following right behind him. He said he began to panic, thinking she wanted to do harm to him causing him to have flashbacks to the night he got shot.
Running to Embarcadero St., Marman lost sight of the guard and slowed his pace to a walk, until, he said, “I felt someone behind me, closing in on me.” He began running again, not looking behind him, too panicked to find out who was chasing him.
Unknown to Marman, Officers Duffield and Tang were chasing him down after finding the female guard on the sidewalk and speaking with her about the incident.
Defense attorney Ward proceeded to show a clip from Officer Tang’s body camera. “Hey, bro,” Officer Tang yells in the video, but Marman keeps running because, said Marman, he never heard him say that nor identify himself as a police officer.
“Don’t worry bro, you’re good” Tang yells, but Marman keeps running. At this moment, Marman explains, he was having flashbacks to the day he got shot and was reliving that moment as he came face to face with Officer Tang.
In the video, Tang yells “he’s going for my gun,” but when asked about this moment, Marman states he doesn’t remember reaching for the gun or for the baton because he was in “survival mode.”
Additionally, Marman does not remember biting Officer Duffield and only remembers saying something about George Floyd because he thought he was “going to be killed by the officers” and wanted to make spectators aware.
At this point in the trial, Judge Brendon Conroy opened the floor for Assistant District Attorney, Asit Pahwala, who asked about the types of opioids Marman was using at the hospital after being shot years ago.
“I was prescribed morphine,” Marman explained to the jury. He also explained how he “had a hard time” with the drugs and did become addicted to them.
Pahwala proceeded to ask Marman about his alleged heroin use in 2019, and Marman confirmed that he did in fact use heroin almost every day starting in 2019, but at the time of the incident at Safeway, he was not on any drugs.
The trial reconvenes Friday.