Man arrested after fight with San Jose mayor's security detail

A man has been arrested after he allegedly disrupted an interview with San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan and hit a plain-clothes officer assigned to the mayor's security detail, according to the San Jose Police Department

Mahan was conducting an interview with the media at around 6 p.m. Tuesday near South First and East San Fernando streets when a man approached the group. Police say the man displayed "erratic behavior" before growing hostile and shouting profanities towards the mayor and his team. 

As the man approached the group, police say a plain clothes SJPD officer attempted to intervene and deescalate, but that seemed to only agitate the suspect further. The suspect advanced toward the officer and threatened him, eventually striking him, according to police. 

That's when the pair struggled for a moment before bystanders assisted the officer in detaining the suspect. The suspect was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail on a charge of felony battery on a police officer as well as other charges. The suspect remains in custody as of Wednesday evening. 

Police are still investigating what led up to the altercation. 

The minutes-long clash was captured on KRON-TV during a live interview with one of its reporters and Mahan. The suspect, reportedly identified as 35-year-old Wesley Pollard, is a South Bay resident. 

Mahan was attending the grand-opening and ribbon-cutting for the new Elyse restaurant, a swanky, French-Vietnamese eatery considered a welcome addition to the downtown scene. 

Adlfo Gomez, the Elyse restauranteur said the suspect was asked to move to the side after he "wanted to mess around." He said the suspect became upset and that's how the fight began. 

"This is definitely the street that gets the most foot traffic. The busiest street in downtown. Stuff like this doesn't happen like that," said Gomez. 

Mahan's office sent out a statement on his behalf Tuesday evening. His full comment is below: 

"Mayor Matt Mahan is deeply grateful to his security detail and the entire San Jose Police Department. The actions of the Officer tonight were heroic and a testament to the deescalation training that makes our officers effective, compassionate and stewards of community trust. His thoughts are with the Officer and he hopes for a speedy recovery. 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. 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."

On Wednesday, acting Chief of Police Paul Joseph issued a statement that said the video released of the incident is incomplete and does not include when the officer involved attempted to identify himself, nor the attempts to deescalate the situation. In addition, the chief said the suspect arrested had a warrant for his arrest in Georgia for "resisting arrest with violence." 

The plain-clothes officer, who the police chief said was punched repeatedly in the face, was hospitalized overnight and released. He has not been identified. The chief added that the police department will review the case to see if the officer involved complied with the law regarding his use of force. 

Experts say the scene played out highlights the increasing dangers faced by elected leaders and those assigned to protect them. 

University of New Haven lecturer Bobby McDonald is a retired Secret Service agent who worked as President Joe Biden's security detail. He said the officer had to make a split-second decision facing multiple variables in an increasingly violent world. 

"We've seen more threats made towards Congress that didn’t normally get threats. People are hurting out there. Either financially or from a homeless situation or a mental health situation," McDonald said. 

In an email to the acting police chief, the president of the San Jose NAACP said he's "troubled by the rapid escalation of the situation into a physical altercation. It was distressing to witness the lack of attempts at deescalation from the officers involved.