Friday afternoon, authorities in California released several pieces of evidence surrounding the attack on then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, last October.
Investigators released body-worn camera video and audio of a 911 call made by Paul Pelosi, 82, while the accused attacker, 42-year-old David DePape, was holding him hostage at his San Francisco home.
The video is shocking and difficult to watch.
\u201cWARNING: GRAPHIC \u26a0\ufe0f Here's the body cam footage of Paul Pelosi being attacked by David DePape while the police fail to act\u201d
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@Fifty Shades of Whey)
It begins with two officers knocking on the Pelosis’ door.
After 25 seconds, the door opens, revealing an elderly barefoot man — Pelosi — dressed in a blue button-down shirt and boxer shorts. With his right hand, he is holding onto the head of a hammer that a younger, heavy-set man wearing sneakers, shorts, and a hoodie is also clutching with his right hand.
The two appear to be struggling over the hammer.
An officer shines his flashlight into the doorway, illuminating the hammer as Paul Pelosi appears to look at the officers with a face of shock.
About ten seconds go by when one officer yells, “Drop the hammer!”
Pelosi begins saying, “hey,” when an officer says, “what is going on right now?”
In an instant, DePape breaks Pelosi’s grasp on the hammer, raises his hand high over his head, swings the hammer, and with full force strikes Pelosi, who is immediately incapacitated and falls to the ground.
The officers lunge into the home and tackle DePape onto the ground.
As the officers and DePape struggle on the ground, it’s evident that Pelosi is lying beneath the ongoing wrestling match.
Pelosi remains on the floor with sounds of deep, agonal respirations coming from him. Officers struggle for about 45 seconds to restrain DePape and communicate with dispatchers to send an ambulance urgently. The entire time, Pelosi remains unattended on the floor.
DePape’s attorney called the release “disrespectful” and “inflammatory,” asserting that the video’s release threatens his client’s ability to receive a fair trial.
Authorities also released audio from a just shy of three-minute-long 911 call Pelosi made under duress. It begins with Pelosi trying to get the dispatcher to understand something is wrong. He mentions that somebody is in the house, that he’s waiting for his wife, and that Capitol Police usually protect them.
“Well, there’s a gentleman here just waiting for my wife to come back,” Pelosi says.
“Nancy Pelosi,” he adds.
He tells the dispatcher that his wife won’t be home for a few days, “so I guess we’ll have to wait.”
When the dispatcher asks whether he needs police, fire, or medical assistance, Pelosi initially indicates, “No, I don’t think so.”
He pauses for a while and asks, “Is the Capitol Police around?”
The dispatcher says no and explains that he reached San Francisco’s police department.
“They’re usually here at the house protecting my wife,” Pelosi responds, his voice sounding more desperate as time passes. Eventually, Pelosi tells the dispatcher who he is and that he doesn’t know the person in his home and reveals that he’s communicating on speaker phone because DePape can be heard prompting him.
“The name’s David,” Pelosi tells the dispatcher as instructed by DePape.
“And who is David,” the dispatcher asks.
“I don’t know,” Pelosi replies. “What’s that?” one can hear him asking.
“I’m a friend of theirs,” DePape interjects.
“He says he’s a friend, but,” Pelosi begins when the dispatcher says, “but you don’t know who he is?”
Pelosi responds, “No, ma’am,” before eventually telling the dispatcher that he has to hang up the phone.
The assault left Paul Pelosi with severe head and arm injuries. He required surgery for a skull fracture and other injuries.
Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill that she has avoided viewing or hearing anything about the assault.
During a preliminary hearing last month, prosecutors showed the footage in open court. Media organizations sought to release the footage publicly. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Murphy ruled Thursday that the video footage should not be kept secret.
“I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in, and I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life,” Nancy Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol on Friday.
Reaction to the multi-media release has been strong online.
Prominent figures on the right had manufactured false theories about what actually happened, going so far as to claim DePape had been invited in. Others, like Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, had made jokes about the near-fatal assault hours after the attack.
“All those who trafficked in homophobic conspiracy nonsense about this, such as the owner of this increasingly shitty platform, should be ashamed. They won’t be, but they are heinous & utterly lost,” wrote tech journalist Kara Swisher.
\u201cAll those who trafficked in homophobic conspiracy nonsense about this, such as the owner of this increasingly shitty platform, should be ashamed. They won\u2019t be, but they are heinous & utterly lost: Judge releases evidence, video footage in attack on Pelosi https://t.co/VWaq6bePXw\u201d