Fare check at downtown Sacramento light rail stop goes out of control
A video of Sacramento police scuffling with a man and using a Taser on him at a light-rail station went viral on Facebook on Wednesday, with some viewers questioning the officers’ use of force and others saying it wasn’t clear what was happening in the video or what led up to it.
In the video, shot by a bystander, two Sacramento police officers and two Sacramento Regional Transit transit officers struggled with the man and his female companion on a sidewalk.
The officers wrestled the man to the ground and shot him with a stun gun before handcuffing and arresting him. Another officer pulled the woman to the ground and held her down. The woman repeatedly screamed “wait,” while the man swore at police and called for help.
The incident occurred at the 13th Street light-rail station in downtown Sacramento about 1:30 p.m. It ended in the arrest of Golden Lee Smith, 34, for assaulting an officer and for a parole violation, according to Capt. Norm Leong, head of the Regional Transit security force. The woman, identified as Stacey Yvette Bledsoe, 48, was cited for resisting arrest, he said.
Leong said officers told him they attempted to stop Smith and Bledsoe, who are African American, to check for fares. The pair instead walked away, he said. Officers detained them, and found that they had valid light-rail tickets. In the meantime, officers did a computer check and saw that Smith was a parolee.
Leong said they attempted to cite Smith for delaying officers by failing to comply. Smith refused to sign the citation, according to Leong. The officers then attempted to handcuff him. As they did, Smith punched an officer, Leong said.
The video appeared to begin as a scuffle broke out. An officer shouted “stop” as the man grappled with police. Police used a Taser on the man, and an officer shouted, “Get on your belly right now, motherf-----.”
As they handcuffed Smith, he shouted, “Somebody help!”
“That was a dumbass move. You know that,” an officer told Smith. “That was stupid as s---.”
“Police brutality!,” Smith yelled. “This is harassment. I didn’t do s--- wrong. I was on my way to f------ school.”
Leong said police will conduct an investigation into the use of force.
The man who shot the cellphone video and posted it on Facebook, Michael Aran, said he had just been stopped and cited by officers for riding light rail without a ticket.
Aran said in an interview that he did not witness either Smith or Bledsoe behaving aggressively before the scuffle began. There was “no violence from what I seen at all,” he said. “For three, four, five officers to get involved, that was just odd. I’ve never seen that before.”
Near the end of his video, Aran looked into the camera and said: “Black Lives Matter.”
Smith and Bledsoe were in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail on Wednesday night.
Jail records showed Bledsoe was being booked on a misdemeanor charge of resisting officers attempting to discharge their duties, with bail set at $1,000. She was also being held on six arrest warrants from Merced County, with bail amounts totaling $26,500.
Smith was being booked for battery and resisting arrest, both felonies, with bail set at $75,000. He was also being held on a parole violation, for which he was ineligible for bail, jail records show.
Smith and Bledsoe are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Sacramento Superior Court.