Watch Calif. Police Officer Take Down Man Swinging Metal Pole at Him

April 1, 2024
San Pablo police used less-lethal weapons and tried to de-escalate a call involving a man accused of harassing a woman before the suspect grabbed a metal pole and charged at an officer.

By David Hernandez

Source San Francisco Chronicle

Authorities released body camera footage Saturday that shows a San Pablo police officer shooting a man in the leg as he swung a 30-inch metal pole at another officer.

In the September incident, the officer who was attacked ducked and wasn't injured. The man who was hit in the leg was 44-year-old Andre Smith, police said in a written narrative that accompanied the video.

"I don't know how to handle this without it being a big deal," the woman said, according to the audio clip.

When officers showed up, Smith locked himself in a room and wouldn't speak to the officers, police said. Smith wasn't acting violent, so police told the woman to call back if she needed help.

A little more than an hour later, the woman called 911 again. Smith had walked out of the room and was harassing her, she told the dispatcher.

Smith could be heard in the background.

"I don't want to live this no more," Smith said, according to audio of the 911 call. "I'm tired of social injustice. I don't want to go to court. I'd rather go after their throat. And if they kill me, then they kill me, but when it's time for them to die, I'm going to throw them into a lake of fire and torch 'em."

The woman told the dispatcher Smith didn't possess guns. Officers showed up, ready to use less-lethal weapons if necessary, police said.

Officers found Smith standing next to a vehicle in the driveway. He then paced around in the front yard as an officer talked to him, the footage showed.

"We just want to make sure everything's OK," the unidentified officer said. "Nothing needs to happen here. Just please listen to us. Let this go smoothly. Let us help you."

Smith grabbed two metal poles and didn't comply with commands to drop them, police said.

Officers fired beanbag rounds and foam projectiles at Smith, but he held onto the poles and retreated to the side of the house, police said.

Officers continued to talk to him, asking him to walk out with his hands in the air. "Your kids, your wife, everybody's worried about you," an unidentified officer in a neighboring backyard said.

After 16 minutes, Smith walked out and threw large rocks at the officers while holding a chair as a shield, police said. Officers fired beanbags and foam projectiles again. Two of the officers walked toward Smith in the front yard and deployed their Tasers.

Smith then grabbed a metal pole, charged at one of the officers who had a Taser and swung the pole, the footage showed. That's when another officer fired a rifle and struck Smith in the leg. Police didn't release the name of the officer.

Smith was treated at a hospital and later released, police said.

Smith was charged in Contra Costa Superior Court with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, as well as special enhancements. He later pleaded not guilty, according to court records.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office is investigating the shooting in coordination with the San Pablo Police Department.


(c)2024 the San Francisco Chronicle

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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