Former Richmond cop charged for allegedly beating man with Taser
RICHMOND, Calif. - Felony charges were filed on Wednesday against a former Richmond police officer who was seen on body-cam video repeatedly striking a man with his Taser during a traffic stop.
Officer Eric Smith Jr., 28, faces one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon with two enhancements, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office said. The two enhancements are for inflicting great bodily injury and for the use of a deadly and dangerous weapon in the April 9 incident.
Smith was on duty when he stopped Saul Mendoza Jr. around 1 a.m., prosecutors said.
Smith struck Mendoza dozens of times with his Taser, leaving the man bloodied after he briefly fled from the officer.
"It's clear in this video that the suspect does not appear to be resisting," said Richmond Police Chief Bisa French. "I want to apologize to the individual that was involved in this incident as well as the community at large. Officer Smith's actions are unacceptable."
WARNING: The video below shows Smith striking Mendoza and may be upsetting to some viewers.
The Richmond Police Department released body cam video of the encounter which shows Mendoza on his knees, but then he gets up.
Smith can be heard telling Mendoza, "Get on your knees, bro."
Over the video, Mendoza can be heard asking "What the f-- is going on."
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Mendoza is then seen running off but doesn't get far when he puts his hands up in an attempt to surrender to the officer.
The video shows Smith deploying his Taser and Mendoza falling to the ground.
Smith then appears to hover over Mendoza and repeatedly strikes the man with the Taser as Mendoza yells out.
Smith was placed on administrative leave and later terminated from the police force on August 3.