Law enforcement face criticism for response to break-in at Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home
Law enforcement officials who handled the break-in at former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s home have been criticized over claims the brutal hammer attack against her husband could have been prevented.
Capitol Police have also faced scrutiny over their failure to spot the unfolding incident on surveillance camera feeds which caught the moment attacker David DePape broke into the Pelosi residence.
One expert accused the San Francisco Police Department officers who attended the home of a ‘lackadaisical’ response and suggested DePape – who was 42 at the time – could have been subdued before he was able to strike Paul Pelosi, 82.
Questions have been raised about the decision to only send two officers for a welfare check despite knowing the address belonged to the former House Speaker, who at the time was second in line to the presidency.
While the 911 dispatcher did flag the call as an emergency, it’s been suggested the decision to conduct a welfare check rather than mount a larger response was incorrect.
An expert has suggested David DePape could have been stopped before he launched the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, 82
Former LAPD senior detective supervisor Timothy Williams told the San Francisco Chronicle: ‘The Pelosi residence should have been a major number at the dispatch.’
He said the dispatcher wasted time during the 911 call and described the officers who responded as ‘lackadaisical’.
Williams said Pelosi’s status meant tactical units should have been stationed around the home following the 911 call and officers should have approached with their weapons drawn low. DePape should have been tackled as soon as officers saw the hammer, he said.
The husband of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asleep at their San Francisco home just before 2:00am on October 28 when DePape broke in and beat him with a hammer, prosecutors allege.
Capitol Police have also come under fire after they failed to spot the moment DePape broke into the Pelosi home, which was caught on a live surveillance feed that was supposed to be monitored by officers
They were responding after a 911 call by Pelosi, who spoke to a dispatcher while DePape watched on. Pelosi calmly tells the operate ‘I’ve got a problem’, but does not explicitly suggest there is an emergency, in an apparent attempt not to aggravate DePape.
Police bodycam footage released last week shows two police officers arriving at the Pelosi’s home, knocking on the door and waiting around 20 seconds before it was answered.
Paul, in a pajama top and boxer shorts, answers the door as he and DePape both vie for control of a hammer.
They each have a hand on the weapon while Paul has a drink in his left hand. The video was released alongside Paul’s 911 call and the release of surveillance video showing the suspect outside of the family’s home.
The officers spot the hammer and tell DePape to drop it – before a scuffle ensues between Pelosi and his attacker. DePape is able to strike Pelosi on the head before police tackle him to the floor.
FBI agents work outside the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where her husband Paul Pelosi was ‘violently assaulted’ after a break-in at their house. Pictured October 28, 2022
DePape broke into the Pelosi home and woke up Paul Pelosi, who was asleep in bed at the time, then asked ‘where’s Nancy?’ The former House Speaker was in Washington DC at the time
Perhaps one of the most shocking errors was the failure to spot DePape break in on the surveillance feeds that was relayed live to Capitol Police, who provide Nancy Pelosi’s security.
The feed is beamed to a center 3,000 miles away in Washington D.C., where staff monitor feeds from about 1,800 cameras placed around the Capitol and beyond, including those outside the homes of high-profile politicians like Pelosi.
Police missed the moment the break in happened and apparently only realized there was an incident when the feed showed police lights flashing at the property.
The black and white footage showed DePape looking around the property and eyeing a glass door which he smashed to gain entrance to the property.
Cameras were first installed at the Pelosi residence eight years before the attack. After the attack on the Capitol on January 6 2021, a police cruiser was stationed outside the Pelosi home 24.7. But much of the security that was in place was moved on the night DePape broke in to follow Pelosi to DC, where she had traveled for work.
The officers were told by the dispatcher they were headed to the Pelosi household and it was a ‘sensitive location’.
Other law enforcement experts who reviewed the bodycam footage said the officers handled a rapidly-developing situation well.
DePape pleaded not guilty last month to six charges, including attempted murder
Ed Obayashi, a law enforcement training expert based in Plumas County, said: ‘Reading between the lines, these officers had no reason to believe there was a life-threatening emergency.
‘Why are you going to call a tactical alert for something very vague, when not a lot of facts are known?’
A spokesman for San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management said there are procedures in place to guide responders who deal with incidents at such locations.
The spokesman told the SF Chronicle: ‘In our review of the incident, we found our dispatchers acted in accordance with established protocols and utilized their training, experience and intuition to save a life.’
Lawmakers expressed concern after the attack that more resources were needed to protect them amid an increasingly fraught political climate.
Representative Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York, told the New York Times: ‘The federal government seems largely indifferent to the safety of rank-and-file members of Congress, who are left wide open to assassination.
‘We live in a terrifying time when political violence has become a new normal. The assassination of a member of Congress feels like an inevitability.’
DePape pleaded not guilty in December to six charges, including attempted murder. Police have said DePape told them there was ‘evil in Washington’ and he wanted to harm Nancy Pelosi because she was second in line to the presidency.
His case is ongoing.
‘I’m a friend of theirs’ – Paul Pelosi’s harrowing 911 call is released
The 911 call shows Paul Pelosi trying to alert the dispatcher to who he is and the danger he’s in, as he says, ‘There’s a gentleman here just waiting for my wife to come back, Nancy Pelosi.’
David DePape’s voice can be heard multiple times on the harrowing call as at one point he identifies himself as a friend of the Pelosi’s.
The 911 call in full:
Dispatcher: San Francisco Police 74.
Paul: Uh, I guess I called by mistake. Who is this?
Dispatcher: This is San Francisco police, do you need help?
Paul: Oh well, there’s a gentlemen here just waiting for me wife to come back, Nancy Pelosi. He’s just waiting for her to come back but she’s not going to be here for a days so I guess he’ll just have to wait.
Dispatcher: Okay, do you need police, fire or medical for anything?
Paul: I don’t think so. I don’t think so… Is the Capitol police around, do you know? They’re usually here at the house protecting my wife.
Dispatcher: No, this is San Francisco police.
Paul: I know. I understand. Okay, well what do you think?
David DePape: I think everything’s good.
Paul: He thinks everything’s good but I’ve got a problem. He thinks everything’s good.
Dispatcher: Okay. Call us back if you change your mind.
Paul: No, no. This gentleman just came into the house and wants to wait here for my wife to come home… (inaudible)
Dispatcher: Do you know who this person is?
Paul: No, I don’t know who he is. He’s telling me not to, not to do anything.
Dispatcher: What is your address, sir?
Paul: 2640 Broadway.
Dispatcher: What is your name?
Paul: My name is Paul Pelosi. Anyway, this gentleman, he’s telling me… He’s telling me to put the phone down and I should do what he says. Okay?
Dispatcher: What’s the gentleman’s name?
DePape: My name is David.
Paul: The name is David.
Dispatcher: Okay, and who is David?
Paul: I don’t know.
DePape: I’m a friend of theirs.
Paul: Yeah, he says he’s a friend.
Dispatcher: But you don’t know who he is?
Paul: No, ma’am.
Paul: He’s telling me I’m being very leading so I gotta stop talking to you, okay?
Dispatcher: You sure? I can stay on the phone with you just to make sure everything’s okay?
Paul: No, he wants me to get the hell off the phone. Okay?
Paul: Thank you.