Sacramento Regional Transit releases video of Taser incident
The man who who was hit by a Sacramento police Taser during a scuffle at a light-rail station this week is on medication for anxiety and has spent time homeless, his mother said Friday.
The arrest Wednesday afternoon of Golden Lee Smith, 34, at the 13th Street station, was recorded by a bystander and posted on Facebook. That video went viral, and was retweeted by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been calling attention to racial injustice, specifically police treatment of blacks.
Smith, a parolee, was arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on Friday on charges of battery on an officer and resisting an officer. Sacramento Regional Transit on Friday released videos of the incident captured on two station cameras.
Police said they attempted to stop Smith and his girlfriend Stacey Yvette Bledsoe, 48, to check for fares as the pair left a train. Smith and Bledsoe did not stop, and headed away “in a quick manner,” according to police Capt. Norm Leong, head of RT security. He said officers caught up with and stopped the pair, and found that they had valid light-rail tickets. Officers did a computer check and saw that Smith was a parolee.
Leong said the officers, two police and two transit officers, 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 in the face, Leong said, starting the scuffle that led to one officer using a Taser to subdue Smith. Leong said Smith hit another officer several times in the face.
The Regional Transit videos shows Smith walking away from the train, and one officer running up to him as Bledsoe and the other officers follow. Smith, Bledsoe and the officers stand talking for about five minutes before the cameras show the officers moving in to handcuff Smith. Smith twists and flails his arms at the officers in what appear to be punches as the officers grapple with him. It ends with them on the ground.
The Regional Transit videos do not have audio.
Bledsoe could be heard in the video captured on the bystander’s phone shouting “wait” as the scuffle broke out, was subdued by an officer, and charged with resisting arrest.
“That was a dumb-ass move. You know that,” an officer can be heard shouting at Smith on the video.
“Police brutality!” Smith yelled. “This is harassment. I didn’t do s--- wrong. I was on my way to f------ school.”
State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show that Smith was released from prison this March after serving 2 1/2 years for an assault and battery conviction in Santa Clara County.
“My son is not perfect,” his mother Rhonda Smith told The Sacramento Bee on Friday at the county jail. He is on medication for anxiety, she said. Smith has suffered from what she believes is police harassment over the years. He has been living with her lately in Rancho Cordova, she said.
Bledsoe, who attended Smith’s arraignment, told The Bee the pair had gotten off the train and were walking away when they heard officers aggressively shouting. She said she considered the officers’ behavior as harassment.
“He has medical problems,” she said. “They shouldn’t have done that that way.”
She said they kept walking away initially because they had legitimate rail tickets. “We were just walking and talking.” She said Smith did refuse to sign the citation the officers had written, but she said he was starting to agree to sign it when the officers grabbed him and told him to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. That is when the scuffle broke out, she said.
Bledsoe said Smith was attending college, but did not offer details. Sheriff’s jail records indicate Bledsoe has several arrest warrants from Merced County. She declined to offer details about the warrants, saying only that she had issues with police there, and felt she was harassed by police, but she said she had gone to court in Merced and thought those matters were cleared up.
Leong said police will conduct an investigation into the use of force.