San Jose mayor’s security injured in altercation
A pedestrian identified as Wesley Pollard (left) attacks San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan's security guard on South First Street in downtown San Jose on April 23, 2024. Screenshot from KRON4 video.

A pedestrian attacked San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan’s security detail after a verbal altercation turned physical.

The altercation occurred on Tuesday around 6 p.m. while Mahan gave an on camera interview with KRON4 after attending a restaurant opening near South First and East San Fernando streets in downtown. Video of the incident shows a man on the phone speaking loudly and becoming angry after being told he’s interrupting an interview. The pedestrian then threatens to slap Mahan’s security guard — a San Jose police officer who was dressed in a suit — and punches the guard’s head. The mayor was not harmed, and the pedestrian was arrested.

Tasha Dean, Mahan’s spokesperson, said the mayor is grateful to his security detail and the San Jose Police Department. SJPD detained the man and booked him into Santa Clara County Main Jail for multiple charges, including felony battery of a police officer. The mayor’s security detail sustained an injury during the fight and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. He has since been released from the hospital.

“The actions of the officer last night were heroic and a testament to the deescalation training that makes our officers effective, compassionate and stewards of community trust,” Dean said. “His thoughts are with the officer and he hopes for a speedy recovery.”

In the beginning of the video, the man is walking past Mahan’s right side speaking loudly when Mahan and the officer tell him he is interrupting. The man responds saying he’s on his way to work and to “mind your (expletive) business.” It’s only a matter of seconds before he punches the officer’s head.

The officer then tries to physically restrain the pedestrian, making several attempts to bring him to the ground to no avail.

The two struggle for a few minutes before bystanders help the officer restrain the man.

On the periphery, Mahan and his staff anxiously watch the fight break out. Dean is quick on her feet. She asks Michael Lomio, Mahan’s land use and economic development policy advisor, to call 911, and helps direct people to the side. Mahan also appears to be on a call, but it is unclear who he was speaking with.

“The mayor understands how privileged he is to have an armed officer protecting him at all times, and is resolved in his commitment to create a safer city for everyone,” Dean said. “That means hiring more police officers and addressing the root causes of crime, including by intervening earlier and more effectively in cycles of addiction, mental illness and violence.”

Assistant Police Chief Paul Joseph said the video released doesn’t show the entire incident and claims the officer identified himself and made attempts to deescalate the situation and avoid the use of force.

“As with any use of force incident, this will be reviewed thoroughly by the police department to ensure the officer complied with the law and policy,” Joseph said in a statement.

Joseph also noted that the man had a warrant out for resisting arrest with violence in Georgia.

“San Jose Police Officers place the welfare of others before their own on a daily basis to protect the people of San Jose. In this case, the people being protected happened to be the Mayor, his staff, and members of the media,” Joseph said.

Contact Jana at [email protected] or follow @Jana_Kadah on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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