Damacio Diaz is one of the subjects of new Hulu documentary Killing County.
The multi-part documentary is coming to the streaming platform on February 3 and includes first-person interviews with individuals and families plagued by gun violence, officer-involved homicides and other crimes in Bakersfield and Kern County, California.
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is an executive producer on the project, and says in the trailer that it "is one of the most powerful projects I've ever been involved with."
In a tweet promoting the documentary, the star mentioned the high homicide and crime rates in Bakersfield, calling the series a "thriller set in Kevin McCarthy's district," in reference to House Speaker McCarthy, whose congressional district includes parts of Bakersfield.
Diaz, a former Bakersfield police detective, is interviewed on camera in Killing County.
Newsweek has everything you need to know about what happened to Bakersfield cop Damacio Diaz and why he is featured on Killing County.
Diaz initially became well-known after the release of 2015 Disney movie, McFarland USA, starring Kevin Costner.
The movie is based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team, that Diaz was a member of, from a mainly Latino high school in McFarland, California, that won a state championship.
The former narcotics officer is now known, however, for going to prison in 2016 for charges tied to drugs, bribery and tax fraud.
According to court documents, while employed as a police officer with the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD), Diaz handled a criminal informant, for nearly three years between April 2012 and February 2015, who was involved in the large-scale sale and distribution of the drug methamphetamine.
The United States Attorney's Office said Diaz continued to operate the informant "even though he was fully aware of the informant's ongoing criminal activity and, during this time, Diaz received bribes from the informant in return for intelligence on law enforcement activities as well as protection from investigation and arrest."
As well as accepting illegal bribes, Diaz engaged in drug trafficking while with the BPD.
Former detective Patrick Mara was also implicated in the same crime. In 2018, another man, Noel Carter, from Bakersfield, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Diaz and Mara to distribute drugs, according to federal prosecutors.
The Department of Justice said Diaz and Mara would deliberately fail to submit seized drugs as evidence and instead would give them to Carter, who would sell them for profit.
On October 3, 2016 Diaz was sentenced to five years in prison for bribery, possession and attempted possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and making and subscribing a false income tax return.
Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said at the time of Diaz's sentencing: "Diaz had a life that afforded him many opportunities, including the opportunity to serve and protect his community as an officer of the law. Diaz turned his back on those opportunities and broke the trust his community placed in him, violating the very laws he was sworn to enforce. Public corruption takes a heavy toll on our communities, and our office remains committed to prosecuting such conduct."
In May 2020, Diaz was released from a halfway house in Sacramento, where he was staying after serving his time. Mara was released from a halfway house a month before Diaz, in April 2020, after serving just under four years in federal prison.
In April 2019, Carter was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for conspiring with Diaz and Mara to sell the seized drugs. Carter was also ordered to pay $70,513 in restitution to his former employer—who he admitted to embezzling money from—and to forfeit $286,251 in proceeds from drug trafficking, according to federal prosecutors.
Killing County is scheduled to premiere on Hulu on Friday, February 3.