Fact Check: Paul Pelosi Did NOT Tell 911 Dispatcher David Is A Friend -- These Were The Attacker's Words

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Paul Pelosi Did NOT Tell 911 Dispatcher David Is A Friend -- These Were The Attacker's Words DePape's Words

Does a publicly available 911 recording feature the voice of Paul Pelosi identifying the man in his house as David and stating that he is a friend? No, that's not true: At the time of writing, the recording of the actual 911 call has not been made public. An audio recording of a police radio transmission that is publicly available features language that led to misinterpretations -- that it was Pelosi who called David DePape a friend. The unreleased call with the San Francisco Police 911 dispatcher Heather Grives is detailed in a November 1, 2022, court filing.

During Pelosi's communication, with the phone on speaker and DePape standing just three feet away, it was possible for DePape to interject his own replies directly to the dispatcher. According to the court filing, it was DePape who stated that his name is David. When the dispatcher then asked who David is, Pelosi said, "I don't know." DePape then replied, "I'm a friend of theirs."

As details of what happened first came to light, unclear and incomplete reports surfaced. Some were derived from actual recordings of police radio transmissions at 2:28:08 Pacific Time on October 28, 2022, pertaining to the call from Pelosi's house. In some cases the recordings are characterized as 911 recordings and give the impression that Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, can be heard speaking. One example was posted on Instagram by the @pilsners_and_politics podcast on November 1, 2022. It was captioned:

This story has gotten extremely weird..
911 recordings show that Paul Pelosi may have known the attacker. He seemingly refers to the 'attacker' as a friend.....
What are your thoughts? Will it impact the midterm elections?
#pelosi #nancypelosi #paulpelosi #congress #politics #weird #lookitup #lookintoit #news #liberallogic #liberallunacy
The text in the meme reads:
'His name is David, and he's a friend.'

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:
(Image source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Nov 02 18:27:14 2022 UTC)

Timestamped logs of police radio transmissions from San Francisco can be accessed on the website openmhz.com. The 12-second clip (archived here) can be heard by clicking the autoplay button at the bottom of the screen. Due to time zone differences, this archived timestamp shows 5:28:08 Eastern time rather than 2:28:08 Pacific time. The audio can also be heard in a recording posted in an October 28, 2022, Twitter post. Although using different technology than a police scanner, trunk recording is similar in that these are radio calls between police officers and the dispatcher. The radio transcript of a male voice says:

RP [reporting person] stated there's a male in the home and that he's going to wait for his wife. RP stated that he doesn't know who the male is but he advised that his name is David and that he is a friend. RP sounded somewhat confused.

In the radio transmission, the structure of this sentence leaves ambiguity as to who "he" is. Was it Pelosi or DePape who advised that his name is David and that he is a friend?

A motion to detain was filed with the San Francisco County Superior Court on November 1, 2022. A description of the 911 call appears on page 5, line 8 - page 6, line 7. The details of the call clarify this question as well as how someone could think Pelosi sounded confused. Below is an example of a mixed message Pelosi offered to the 911 dispatcher under duress:

To diffuse the situation, Mr. Pelosi told the dispatcher that he did not need police, fire, or medical assistance. Trying to be calm and discreet while also trying to help dispatch to understand the situation, Mr. Pelosi then asked for the Capitol Police because they are usually at the house protecting his wife. The dispatcher clarified that Mr. Pelosi was calling San Francisco police; Mr. Pelosi said that he understood and then asked someone, 'I don't know, what do you think?' Another man responded, 'Everything's good.' Mr. Pelosi then stated, 'Uh, he thinks everything's good. Uh, I've got a problem, but he thinks everything's good.'

The document clarifies that it was DePape who said his name was David and claimed to be a friend. The moment in question occurs just before the call ended:

The dispatcher then asked for the man's name and the man responded, 'My name is David.' When the dispatcher asked who David is, Mr. Pelosi said, 'I don't know,' but David said, 'I'm a friend of theirs.' Mr. Pelosi then confirmed with the dispatcher that he did not know the man. 'He's telling me I am being very lazy, so I've gotta to stop talking to you, okay?' When the dispatcher offered to stay on the line with Mr. Pelosi to make sure everything is okay, Mr. Pelosi said, 'No, he wants me to get the hell off the phone.' The call ended. Based on her training and what she heard, dispatcher Heather Grives issued an 'A' priority well-being check.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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