RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) — Richmond Police officer Eric Smith Jr. was charged with a felony count of assault and was terminated by the Richmond Police Department for striking a citizen multiple times with a taser, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. Before his termination, Smith Jr. was featured in a video by the Richmond Police Department that highlighted his work in the community.
KRON4 obtained the video, which has since been deleted. We are not sure of when the video was originally posted.
The video shows Smith driving around the community and interacting with children. He talks over the footage, speaking on his mission as a police officer and why he chose the profession.
“I felt that my calling was to kind of be on the street, where I can reach people and prevent them from getting to the county jail,” Smith Jr. said in the video. “In the City of Richmond you can see a young child and say ‘Hey man, I know your brother is taking this route but you don’t have to…’ Being a police officer is the best job and it’s very rewarding.”
Smith Jr., 28, was fired for an incident that occurred on April 9, after he conducted a traffic stop. A body camera video showed him striking the victim repeatedly. He faces one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon with further enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury, as well as for the use of a deadly and dangerous weapon.
Smith Jr.’s lawyer, Harry S. Stern provided the following statement to KRON4:
Eric Smith is a brilliant police officer and a great young man. He has taken more guns off the street than the entire department combined thus saving countless lives. It isn’t easy dealing with the violent criminal element these days. They have no respect for the law and too often have been getting a free pass, which only increases the vigor of their assaults against the public and police officers. The suspect was likely armed with one pistol which he discarded. It was entirely reasonable for young Ofc. Smith to believe he might have another.HARRY S. STERN, ATTORNEY FOR ERIC. SMITH JR.