SAN FRANCISCO — Without warning or hesitation, David DePape swings a hammer, slamming it into the head of Paul Pelosi as San Francisco police officers stand nearby, attempting to defuse the early morning confrontation in the doorway of Nancy Pelosi’s family home.
The images from the SFPD bodycams are stunning. The video was made public Friday morning after San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Murphy — at the legal urging of news outlets — ruled there was no reason to keep the footage secret.
The early morning break-in and assault on Oct. 28 at the Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home sent shockwaves across the nation’s divided political landscape.
Along with the body cam video, the release of evidence included the 911 call, home security footage, and a portion of an interview conducted with DePape.
The police body camera video shows officers approaching the home and knocking on the front door. After a few seconds, the front door opens, revealing Pelosi standing alongside DePape. Both are holding onto a hammer, and DePape is gripping Pelosi’s wrist.
The police exchange a few words with the men, and officers order DePape to drop the hammer.
“Um, nope,” DePape responds, yanking the hammer away and swinging it at Pelosi.
Police then rush into the home and pull DePape off Pelosi, who remained on the floor. Police can be heard requesting backup as they handcuffed DePape.
The 82-year-old Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and injuries to his arms and hands and underwent surgery after the attack. DePape, 42, allegedly broke into the home shortly after 2 a.m. and demanded to know where the congresswoman was. Paul Pelosi was eventually able to make a surreptitious 911 call that authorities have said likely saved his life.
The home security footage shows DePape walking up to a back patio door and peering inside before walking away and retrieving two backpacks. DePape is then seen putting on gloves and breaking the glass of the patio door before entering the home.
Security camera video (edited for brevity):
But both sides in the case objected to the release of the images.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s office argued releasing the footage publicly would only allow people to manipulate it in their quest to spread false information.
Public defender Adam Lipson, who is representing DePape, released an additional statement Friday.
“I think it was a terrible mistake to release this evidence, and in particular the video. Releasing this footage is disrespectful to Mr. Pelosi, and serves no purpose except to feed the public desire for spectacle and violence,” the statement read. “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.”
Authorities said DePape intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and told officers he wanted to “break her kneecaps.” The congresswoman was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the home invasion and attack. She announced the following month she was stepping down from Democratic leadership, though remaining in Congress.
DePape has pleaded not guilty to six charges that include attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, and threats to a public official and their family.
Court records say the San Francisco police “recovered zip ties in Pelosi’s bedroom and in the hallway near the front door of the Pelosi residence” and found “a roll of tape, white rope, one hammer, one pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and a journal” in his backpack.
Meanwhile, there is a parallel prosecution going on in federal court where the Richmond man has been charged with assault and attempted kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is being held without bail.
According to San Francisco police, officers responded to Paul Pelosi’s 911 call reporting the home break-in at approximately 2:27 a.m.
“When officers arrived on scene, they encountered an adult male and Mrs. Pelosi’s husband, Paul,” SFPD Chief Bill Scott told reporters. “Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it.”
“Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid,” he added.
At DePape’s preliminary hearing, officer Kyle Cagney — who was among those who responded to the home — described the doorway confrontation and displayed the hammer to the courtroom.
Prosecutors say an enraged DePape allegedly broke into the home searching for the former House speaker, who was in Washington at the time.
DePape told officers and medics at the scene, “I’m sick of the insane f…ing level of lies coming out of Washington, D.C. I came here to have a little chat with his wife. I didn’t really want to hurt him, but you know this was a suicide mission. I’m not going to stand here and do nothing even if it cost me my life.”
Since undergoing surgery hours after the attack, Paul Pelosi has been recovering mostly in private away from the limelight.
Nancy Pelosi told reporters her husband’s well-being was paramount and she did not know if she would view the video once it was released.
“With a grateful heart and on behalf of my entire family, that we continue to thank people for all of their prayers that they continue to send us,” she said. “Asking about the progress my husband is making. And he is making progress, but it will take more time.”
“As you know, today, there was a release of some information. I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the conversion. I have not seen the break in. And I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life. I won’t be making any more statements about this case. As it proceeds, except to again, thank people and inform them of Paul’s progress. But that will be the end of what I’ll say about the case.”