Violent RT Arrest Caught on Camera

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SACRAMENTO -- A violent struggle at Sacramento's 13th Street light rail station Wednesday has many asking questions.

Cell phone video of the incident shows 34-year-old Golden Smith wrestling with two Regional Transit staff members and two city police officers.

The woman with him -- Stacey Bledsoe -- appears to be trying to slow down the scenario spinning out of control in front of her, shouting "wait" over and over.

The man behind the cell phone camera was stunned.

"One cop, two cops, three cops. And they had him against that wall right there, and next thing you know -- boom. It just broke out. They started grabbing him. And it looked like from what I seen, one of the officers actually punched him in the face, and they took him down, and I just heard him screaming," said Michael Aran.

What Aran feels he saw and recorded is much different than Regional Transit's account.

"In an ideal world, we'd never have to get physical, but we know the reality of policing is that people don't always comply," said Captain Norm Leong, Sacramento Regional Transit's vice president of safety and security.

According to Leong, RT staff and contracted officers from the Sacramento Police Department encounter someone resisting arrest daily and have to use their Tasers at least once a week.

Investigators say Smith refused to stop when they asked for proof of fare around 1:30 in the afternoon,  even though he had paid.

They also say he refused to sign a citation and that the fight happened when they found a strange notation on his parole status and sought to detain him.

"As the officer in the video is seen trying to grab his arm, that's when the person strikes the officer in the face. And as the second officer engages, and they're both trying to grab the male half's arms to get him handcuffed, the second officer is struck several times in his face," Leong said.

Aran disputes the idea of Smith failing to comply.

"No, actually when they approached him, he was going through his backpack to look for his ID," Aran said.

The incident, which has landed Smith behind bars for alleged battery and resisting executive officers, also put the woman with him in cuffs for allegedly resisting.

She was being held away from Smith's struggle and eventual tasing by her hair.

"I've never seen anything like that, not in real life," Aran said.

"I think what you see in the video is the officer struggling both to keep her from interfering and see how he can help his partner," said Leong.

When asked why he pulled out his phone, Aran said, "uh I just had to...just in case they shot him."

Aran says for him, that's a real fear, given the harassment he believes he's experienced out on city streets.

"I was going for a jog and I got stopped by an officer. He said I looked quote, unquote, suspicious. I'm going for a jog, listening to rock music in work-out attire. He questioned me. I continued to jog and he's still following me," he remembered.

"I don't want to be next," he said, referencing the deaths of black men around the country at the hands of law enforcement.

The Taser was the only weapon used in Wednesday's incident.

The officers Regional Transit says were hit during the fight did not have to be hospitalized.

They have not been placed on administrative leave and will return to duty as RT begins an internal investigation.



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