‘You’re lucky; that officer shot somebody last week’

Elk Grove PD savagely beats three young Black men

James-Smith-beaten-by-Elk-Grove-PD, 'You're lucky; that officer shot somebody last week', Archives 1976-2008 News & Views
When the Elk Grove PD beat James Smith, 22, they broke his eye socket.

by Thomas Pinai

My brother, James Smith, was brutally beaten by the Elk Grove Police Department. We just got hold of the police report and the lies that they put in it. My brother has no criminal record. His roommates were also assaulted. The police officers were not justified. 

They are boys; it was a Friday night. They invited some girls over to the house they met at a party. They had the music on. They realized things were getting noisy. The apartment security came by. 

One roommate, Juan, opened the door. The security told them they were being noisy. By then, the boys had turned down the music and gotten ready for bed. Juan told the security they were getting ready for bed now. The security said “We know there’s still people in there and you guys are probably high on drugs.” There were no drugs found in the apartment.

Juan told the security that he was tripping for even assuming that ‘cause he doesn’t smoke. They got into an exchange of words and Juan told the security guard that he was harassing them. He shut the door on the guard. 

Cops came by 10 minutes later. Juan opened the door. The cops asked for his id and asked if he was on the lease. Juan showed the id and said he wasn’t on the lease. The cops said, “Get someone on the lease.” 

My little brother James came to the door and shows his id. While he is doing this, he’s apologizing to the officers for the noise. He says that they were ready for bed and it won’t happen again. 

While he talks, he uses hand gestures, moving them as he talks. His hand touches the police officer’s flash light. 

The cop says, “You trying to touch me?” 

My brother says, “No, sir.”

The officer puts his flashlight back into his belt and says, “We can throw down if you want to throw down.” My brother says, “No, sir, we don’t want any trouble.” Keep in mind, this is their first run in with police and they are 22 years old. 

At this point the third roommate, Desmond, hears the officers and opens the door to his room. The officer says, “Who’s that?” They tell him he’s the other roommate. He says, “Let us see his id and we’ll leave you guys alone.” 

So Desmond goes to hand the officer his id. As soon as the id is in the police officer’s hands, Desmond is tasered. My little brother goes to catch him from falling on the ground and the officers rush in and start punching my little brother in the face. 

Juan gets tasered as soon as the officers rush in and they stomp on him, cracking two of his ribs. The girls that are in the apartment are peeking through the door and start screaming, “Stop!” The police look up and say, “There’s other people in here. Did you guys secure the apartment?” 

They yell, “No, we didn’t check,” and the beatings stop at that point. 

The boys are charged with assault on an officer. They have no prior records, no misdemeanors, nothing. They all work full time. All the officers, including the security officer, were white. 

Desmond was tasered four times in his front and back. Juan received two cracked ribs. He weighs 100 pounds. My brother has two fractures and a busted eye socket. 

James-Smith-beaten-by-Elk-Grove-PD-closeup, 'You're lucky; that officer shot somebody last week', Archives 1976-2008 News & Views
Other photos show severe abrasions on his shoulders and back and blood on his clothes and the floor.

Desmond was beaten so bad that they walked him out of the apartment with a bag over his head so the neighbors in the apartment couldn’t see the damage that was done. They had all seen James with his busted eye socket already.

These boys grew up together since they were in the third grade. 

I flew in from Austin as soon as I found out. 

My brother was kept in a holding cell for 36 hours without a phone call. 

The booking officers made “pirate” jokes because his eye was closed. They said, “You’re lucky, ‘cause the officer that busted you guys up shot somebody just last week.” 

When they picked my brother up off of the ground, he looked at the police officers and said, “I’m sorry for the noise, sir, but look what you did to my face.” The cops couldn’t look him in the eye. 

Neighbors have given their statements about the boys and their character, saying how nice and respectable they are. 

The police report tells a totally different story, that Desmond shoulder-thrusted an officer and shoved his wallet into the chest of another officer. It mentions that my little brother punched a police officer in the head. He’s been in one fight in his life, not counting with his older brothers, and that was in the fourth grade. 

The report mentions that the boys pulled a police officer into the apartment trying to take his weapons away from him and manhandle him. 

It says Desmond was tasered and ripped the tasers off and continued to rush at the officers. Is he He-Man? He was tasered four times. 

This officer complained of a hurt shoulder and sprained wrists. Yea, I’d have that too if I punched someone in the face repeatedly. 

The report is 41 pages long. Ninety percent is false and 10 percent is true. 

The police officer took pictures of himself covered in blood, complaining of a hurt right hand and shoulder. Those injuries were caused by repeatedly punching my brother in the face.

Contact Thomas Pinai at tpinai@yahoo.com.