Saturday Jan 28, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco authorities released video footage on Friday of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, being struck by an intruder's hammer as police rushed into their home to stop the attack.
The police body-worn camera footage of the Oct. 28 violence was released alongside a surveillance video showing the alleged attacker, David DePape, 42, smashing through a glass window to get into the couple's San Francisco home, as well as a 911 call from a distressed Paul Pelosi, who was talking to the dispatcher with DePape apparently beside him.
In the body-cam footage, two police officers knock on the door of the Pelosis' home. When it opens, Pelosi and DePape can both be seen clutching a large hammer.
DePape tells police officers, "Everything's good," at which point the officers instruct him to drop the hammer.
DePape then appears to tear the hammer fully away from Pelosi, who is in sleep wear, before striking him with a powerful overhand blow. The two officers then charge inside - one of them shouting an expletive - tackling DePape, and then calling for back-up and medics.
Pelosi, lying still, can be seen partially under the body of DePape, who is being restrained by the officers.
San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Adam Lipson, who represents DePape, called the release of the evidence a "terrible mistake." In a statement, he said: "The footage is inflammatory and could feed unfounded theories about this case, and we are extremely concerned about Mr DePape's ability to get a fair trial."
DePape has been indicted on federal attempted kidnapping and assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty to state charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, elder abuse, false imprisonment and threatening a public official.
The assailant had been seeking Nancy Pelosi and wanted to wait for her to return to the house, Paul Pelosi said.
The attack shocked Washington and renewed concerns about a breakdown in civility and a rise in political violence.
It also highlighted the limitations of the US Capitol Police (USCP), which is charged with protecting Congress and the representatives who serve in it.
Many USCP officers were injured during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, when rioters burst through security barriers, with some making it clear that they were looking for Nancy Pelosi.
In a Nov. 17 interview with reporters after she announced she would not seek re-election to a Democratic leadership position, Pelosi described the severity of her husband's injuries and the "traumatic effect" of the intrusion.
"If he had fallen or slipped on the ice in an accident and hit his head, it would be horrible. But to have it be an assault on him because they were looking for me is really — call it survivor's guilt or something. But the traumatic effect on him, this happened in our house, in our home, a crime scene," Pelosi said.
After the attack, Pelosi underwent emergency surgery for his wounds, which included a fractured skull. He was released from the hospital several days later but is experiencing a long recovery process.
While many politicians condemned the attack in San Francisco, some Republicans made light of the incident, which also spawned a number of unfounded, online conspiracy theories.
During the 911 call, Paul Pelosi seems to communicate his distress obliquely so as not to provoke DePape, but grows increasingly direct over the course of the roughly three-minute conversation.
At one point, he asked if anyone from the US Capitol Police was nearby. Speaker Pelosi was not in San Francisco at the time.
After saying, "I've got a problem, but he (DePape) thinks everything is good," the dispatcher says he should call back if the need arises.
At that point Pelosi responds: "No, no, no, this gentleman just came into the house, and he wants to wait for my wife to come home."
He tells the dispatcher he does not know DePape, though DePape identifies himself as a "friend."
Toward the end of the call, Pelosi says: "He wants me to get the hell off the phone. Okay?"