San Francisco authorities are refusing to release the mugshot of David DePape, the suspect arrested in the Oct. 28 hammer attack of Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
City police as well as the county sheriff’s office both denied The Epoch Times’ emailed requests for the mugshot of DePape, 42.
An initial request was sent to the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail where DePape is being held. An officer replied: “We do not own the rights to mugshots;” San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) does.
The SFPD public information officer, Officer Nicole Pacchetti, told The Epoch Times: “Under the current circumstances we do not release mugshots of the suspect.”
Although police across the United States routinely release mugshots of arrested suspects, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott announced in 2020 that he would no longer release mugshots “except in circumstances where their release is necessary to warn the public of imminent danger or to enlist the public’s assistance in locating individuals, including at-risk persons.”
At the time, the chief cited research showing that widespread publication of mugshots “fosters racial bias and vastly overstates the propensity of black and brown men to engage in criminal behavior.” Scott also said that refusing to release mugshots reinforces a cornerstone of American jurisprudence: “innocent until proven guilty.”
The Epoch Times and other news media also have been denied other commonly released records in the Pelosi-DePape case. San Francisco’s top prosecutor confirmed Nov. 3 she was refusing to release a recording of Pelosi’s 911 call and officers’ body camera footage.
The Epoch Times is still waiting for responses to outstanding requests for a number of other records related to the incident.
DePape was arrested after police said they witnessed him hitting Paul Pelosi, 82, with a hammer inside the Pelosi residence, fracturing his skull.
In court records, police said DePape admitted to them that he broke into the house by smashing through a glass door, and he had come there “on a suicide mission,” with the intent of questioning Nancy Pelosi about lies and political corruption in Washington, D.C.
After Paul Pelosi told DePape that his wife, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was not home, DePape announced: “I’m going to tie you up.”
Pelosi made an excuse to use the restroom, where he then dialed 911 but “to diffuse the situation,” told the dispatcher he didn’t need emergency help.
The dispatcher decided to send officers anyhow for a well-being check, a move that authorities say may have saved Paul Pelosi’s life.
When officers arrived, they found Pelosi and DePape inside the house, struggling over a hammer. DePape “wrenched the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi,” then hit him in the head “at full force,” a court record says. Pelosi was knocked unconscious; officers tackled DePape and “disarmed him,” the document says.