SJ Police Union Defends Action of Mayor’s Bodyguard, Criticizes NAACP Leader

The San Jose Police Officers Association sent a letter to city officials Monday defending the actions of an officer in Mayor Matt Mahan’s security detail who was attacked by passerby during a mayoral television interview on a downtown street on April 23.

The letter attempted to “set the record straight about this assault with regard to the disingenuous, ill-informed, and flat-out false assertions” about the incident by NAACP chapter President Rev. Jethroe Moore.

One day after the downtown altercation, Moore sent an email to acting Police Chief Paul Joseph critical of the arrest of the alleged attacker, Wesley Pollard, on felony charges including battery of an officer, who has not been identified.

“Upon viewing the video of the incident, I was troubled by the rapid escalation of the situation into a physical altercation,” Moore wrote in the April 24 email. “The officer involved in the altercation did not clearly identify himself as a law enforcement officer, and it appears that there was no legal basis for instructing the pedestrian to move from his location in a public space. The pedestrian’s reaction, although stating a warning, should have been met with a more measured response from the officer, considering the circumstances.”

“The reverend tries to take advantage of this incident to continue to divide our community with outlandish and demonstrably false accusations that, somehow, race played a role in this incident – that is simply not true,” said Sgt. Steve Slack, president of the police union, in a letter to Joseph and City Manager Jennifer Maguire.

“As for Rev. Moore, he has played the race card so many times he needs a new deck, and he should be striving to be a truth-teller and not a propagandist trying to divide our city with falsehoods," wrote Slack.

“The facts of this incident are easy to see, literally, and Rev. Moore knows it,” said Slack in the letter. “It’s time for him to reflect on his continued effort to disseminate a narrative that the facts simply don’t support.”

Slack also alleged that the suspect, a pedestrian walking by Mahan as he was interviewed by a television crew, was wanted on a fugitive warrant from Georgia.

Slack’s letter also calls for at least the doubling of the mayor’s security detail.

“The immediate doubling of the detail should coincide with an urgent and rigorous threat assessment to determine the appropriate level of security for the mayor, his family, residence and work site,” wrote Slack.

The officer who was assaulted and spent several days in the hospital, repeatedly identified himself and deescalated as he was trained while being attacked, said Slack. “He did not reach for a weapon and in fact, when a tire iron was thrown toward the officer and he caught it, he did not use it, he discarded it. His actions were commendable.”

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


  1. Well interesting. But that’s not what the video shows. The video shows the Pedestrian was only walking on his own cell phone minding his own business. When Mr. Mayor saw him and said can we not allow him inside the building. And the escalation began. Public place, there was no reason to not allow the Black male inside a building assuming Mr.Mayor is not the owner. The Judge ordered a release. Childish to continue to change what we all see in the video. As a person of color myself. Racial profiling unfortunately is a serious problem even in the Bay Area. Hope my comment is published if not I can post my thoughts on sites like Facebook.

  2. As a person of color myself. 14+years experiences working with gov officials at various levels. The Bellarmine College officials all tend to have an arrogant (racial) bias. My email inbox is evidence of that. I side with Rev. Moore based on my own personal experiences. Please Rev. Moore stand up for all of us people of color!

  3. Sgt. Slack’s job is to support his members in any way he can. I can see why he would write a letter like this but I can’t imagine why you would excerpt it here without reference to Rev. Moore’s complaint or the video evidence.

  4. The video I have seen supports the NAACP position, not that of the SJPOA. The bodyguard cannot be heard identifying himself, let alone repeatedly. And he was plainly not in uniform.

    Note that, per KRON4, the single felony count against the black man is resisting or deterring an officer. If he didn’t know he was dealing with an officer, the charge is dubious, to say the least. (There are two misdemeanor charges, for battery and disturbing the peace).

    The video shows a slapstick physical altercation between a black man and a white man. It does not show who threw the first punch. It takes two to tango, yet, curiously, only the black man was charged.

  5. I called Sgt. Slack’s office. The person who took my call asked for my reason of wanting to speak with Sgt. Slack. I explained to whoever picked up my call. That I wanted to please share my own experiences working with D4 officials. Email exchanges. How (their) racial biases affect us people of color. Whoever took my phone call hung up on me.

  6. I was actually there. He was not walking into a public space, but a private ribbon cutting for a new restaurant. The mayor made the comment after he had already dropped a dozen f-bombs and seemed unhinged to be honest.

  7. And out of the blue we are getting words that don’t match the video clips. From individuals who suddenly days later claim they were there. An ever changing narrative. Speaking as a person of color who has been racially targeted. Also speaking as a person of color that has worked with gov officials at various levels since 14+ yrs. It’s possible by the time this case is heard. There will suddenly be multiple individuals claiming they were there and Black man was….while Bellarmine scholarship grad boy did absolutely nothing wrong. 14+ years experiences I document everything. But of course Sgt Slack doesn’t want to see my email trails that proof us people of color face racial biases…

  8. I called Sgt. Slacks office twice today asking to speak with him. About evidence that there is racism against people of color in District 4 condoned by D4 officials. Mr. Slack wouldn’t even take my calls. It’s a problem when officials refuse to have a conversation about white privilege and racial disparities in gov that affects people of color.
    Refuse to see email documentation. I won’t call his office again or he might make up stuff about me as well. Though that would be hard to do. Because 14+ years of working with gov officials at various levels; I even have a letter of recommendation from a (retired from the office,) Chief Assistant Attorney General.

  9. Amy, you have no idea what you are talking about. You were not there, I was and have alternate videos and photos to verify it. There were a dozen other witnesses around and inside the new restaurant for the ribbon cutting as well. If it was a white or Asian person, this would have ended the exact same way. I saw him take the first swing at the officer. By making such patently incorrect claims, you are invalidating the many people of color that are legitimately experiencing racism and discrimination today.

  10. Joshua I have over 14 years experiences working with gov officials at various levels. Been a victim of racism myself. It is extremely sad for us people of color that we have zero representation in D4. So sorry former City Council member Kansen Chu lost the election. With the current elected officials I fear we will only see more white privilege and systemic racial disparities.

  11. Sgt. Steve Slack’s comments and allegations about Rev.Moore “dividing’ our community are ridiculous baseless attacks. D4 officials are the ones ignoring systemic racism and white privilege issues in our gov. Sgt. Steve Slack refused to take my calls yesterday. Instead of Sgt. Steve Clark choosing to debate with a Rev. How about Sgt Steve Clark come and have a conversation with me. I actually have to deal with the D4 Bellarmine prep College grads and I actually have evidence of systemic racial discrimination in our gov!!! I have supporting documentation from the state AG office!

  12. @Robert…or the Lady is telling the truth and you like people of color to turn the other cheek…

  13. @Amy…Thank you for speaking up. The Sgt can relax. Downtown San Jose is generally a very safe area. At least for those of us who know how to behave in public and know what not to say. To someone else just walking by.

  14. @Amy, I hear you and have no doubt that you had those experiences. Do you have some examples share of systematic racism that you feel is happening in San Jose today? This specific story is not one of them, but I’d like to know what to watch out for.

  15. @Joshua, looking at the video Amy is correct! All I see too in the video is the male (Black) man walking. Speaking on his own cell phone. And Matt Mahan say can we not let him inside the building. The man heard it and got upset. He said he works there. All I see is a public place meant for members of the public. Can’t tell from the video which building is being referred to. I don’t see any ribbon cutting ceremony in the video. Oh of course you were there…as another Bystander? Just watching? Oh, you were taking video and photos you say…interesting that so many bystanders were there to videotape and take photos.

  16. @Fred, I was there and I have my own video from a different angle after the fight started. He was on his phone loudly dropping f-bombs and walked right into the interview… and there is nothing wrong with that, I agree. After that he was politely asked to let the mayor continue doing the interview, then his said mind your fing business, I’m going to do what I was going to do, and proceeded to walk right into a private event.

    He does not work there and IT WAS NOT A PUBLIC PLACE.

    I was there on the inside when he walked into the private event, which was a ribbon cutting for Elyse. That’s when the altercation started. The business owner spent years to open up the business, surviving many hardships including the death of her mom, Downtown lootings, and a divorce. It took everything she had to open that restaurant and that man or anyone else of any color that was not media or family had zero right to be there.

    There were multiple opportunities for the officer to escalate the situation, but he did not.

    Now do you want to support local San Jose businesses or a fugitive from Georgia? Go walk there (better yet support the business because it’s a phenomenal restaurant and the type of business San Jose needs more of), then watch the video again, and you’ll understand where he walked in. This all happened during the media interviews, which were about 30min before the ribbon cutting.

  17. Joshua, why not share your “alternate” video here?

    Does your alternate video reveal the officer identifying himself? Does your alternate video identify who first became physical?

  18. All of the race baiting on here are disgusting.
    Racism exists (just read some of the above posts for good examples, both ways), but this isn’t a case of it.

    And again, you all are getting what you have voted for time and time again.
    If you don’t like it then maybe you should change what you vote for…. just an idea.

  19. @ Joshua,

    I can’t spend my time continuing this. It appears Amy left too and my guess is the President of the Police Union decided not to call Amy. Because if she has documented evidence of racial discrimination in gov in District 4 why would the President of the Police Chief Union want to see it? Then he would have to address it…oh let’s not ruffle any feathers with the elite gov officials in any specific District. As a Police Union Chief, he could lose his six-figure paying job for standing up to address racism by other officials…The video only shows what I already wrote. It doesn’t show what you wrote. I can only go by what I see. In any case. It’s interesting that so many individuals were there. And ready and instantly began taking out their videos and cell phones to tape. Sounds like a movie set up.

    Take care Joshua!

  20. @Fred, I wasn’t recording when the first punch was thrown, only the KRON camera was rolling. I did see the punch first-hand though and there are longer videos you can find online that include it (look for 3-4min in length).

    If anything I was surprised at how long it took people to help out the officer. One person threw a tire iron which he kicked away, and finally some good Samaritans helped restrain the person in the end. I have a fam, and didn’t want to get involved so I can’t really judge.

    As for Amy, if she has examples like the racist texts she should bring them forward so that we can address the actual problems that exist. If we cry wolf, at some point people won’t listen. Normally I wouldn’t get involved in the comments here but since I was a witness I know some of the facts for this incident.

  21. We need to address any issue where the police acted inappropriately. But those instances are not this instance. I watched the video and saw that the pedestrian was being rude and clearly the aggressor in the altercation. When you have the mayor there, the job of security is to get the erratic person cursing at people for no reason to move away. Even if he didn’t identify himself as a police officer, the pedestrian should not feel free to harass and strike the security person or anyone else. It’s like complaining about a red light camera. You can complain if the light wasn’t working and you went through the intersection, not because you did not realize there was a camera.

  22. Concerned Citizen —

    Being rude is not a felony. Reportedly, the only felony the black man is charged with is resisting an officer. Whether the officer clearly identified himself is the crux of the matter. And it is not seen or heard in the KRON4 video.

    And even if for sake of argument the officer identified himself, the black man had a right to self defense if the officer laid hands on him first. Again, the KRON4 video is unhelpful.

  23. Don,

    I did not see from the video that the police officer laid hands on him first, and in any case it did not appear that the contact was in any way threatening, but more guiding a person away from the mayor. Police are accused for excessive force all the time. In this case it was the pedestrian throwing haymakers which seemed like excessive force. Fortunately there were plenty of live witnesses should this matter go to trial. People are acting like this was George Floyd, it was not. Some people have no respect for law enforcement, fine. But at least treat people like you want to be treated. Apparently the pedestrian wanted to show off his fighting skills. So instead of commending the officer for not using a weapon, he is accused if being the instigator. I am sure if this goes to trial and the pedestrian is convicted, regardless of eyewitness testimony, there will be folks saying this was unjust. When all the pedestrian had to do was walk away.

  24. To reiterate, and you can see for yourself, the KRON4 video doesn’t show who laid hands on whom first. Or whether the first blow was a light touch or haymaker.

    And the plainclothes officer had no right whatsoever to touch the black man unless he was arresting him. Not even a light touch to redirect him along his path on a public sidewalk.

  25. @Don, he was not being redirected from going anywhere on a public sidewalk, but was only being prevented from walking into a private event (which he did do). If it was your house, would you still think it’s not okay for security to prevent someone from entering your house?

  26. I have walked into restaurants hosting private events more than once and never been physically accosted by a plainclothes cop. But I’m not black.

  27. Don,

    Have you tried walking into a private event while using a bullhorn and amplifying F-bombs? I bet your experience would be quite different regardless of skin color.

  28. Try Logic —

    The black man was walking along a public sidewalk minding his own business before being interrupted by a guy in a suit who may or may not have identified himself as a police officer or the mayor’s bodyguard. (The KRON4 video is unhelpful.).

    The black man has not been charged with trespass.

    And the mayoral bodyguard is on the public dole and not private security for the restaurant. The mayor had no authority to order the black man restrained from entering a nongovernmental facility, and the bodyguard was acting outside his authority in obeying the mayor’s extra-legal command that the black man be refused entry.

  29. Just minding your own business walking straight into a giant news camera loudly dropping f-bombs… you know that’s what any normal person would do in that situation, right? Cause, you know, logic. The mayor was doing the business owners a favor by not letting him in to a private event. He only was inside for a few seconds, not enough to be charged with trespassing. Mayor’s detail or not, he had no right to be there any I think anyone at the event would have been fair game to prevent him from entering the event.

    If you were there, for some reason I don’t think you would have invited him in for apps and drinks.

  30. Anyone know why the black man was released, reportedly without any bail, despite supposedly having an outstanding warrant in Georgia? Gonna be hard to extradite him under the circumstances.

    We haven’t actually seen the warrant. Just like we haven’t seen the first punch or the cop identify himself, or a criminal trespass charge against the black man.

  31. We have a bad DA and Georgia would not pay to extradite.
    Now he’s on the street and looking to move-in with you. Enjoy.

  32. I saw the punch, and he sat in a cell for several days.

    Don, you always use black man… he’s just a man. You wouldn’t use the white man or Asian man in every sentence.

  33. Joshua —

    The black man wouldn’t have been bothered by the mayor and his entourage if he was white or Asian. No doubt in my mind.

    We can all see the black man throw a punch in the KRON4 video. We cannot see what provoked it. Where were the bodyguard’s hands when the black man threw his first punch? On the black man’s person?

    Did you see or hear the bodyguard identify himself before grabbing and/or hitting the black man?

  34. Yes, he would have. This had nothing to do with color. You’re trying to make this about race vs. about crime. A police officer was punched in the face in front of the mayor and several people that just wanted to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant. The perp was never hit, after he walked in there it looked like the back of his shirt was grabbed but I was inside and didn’t see how.

  35. Again, the only felony charge against the black man is resisting an officer. And he was released without bail. We have yet to see or hear the evidence that would convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *