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BART bodycam video shows violent arrest at San Francisco's Embarcadero station

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San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi says BART Police bodycam video shows officers used excessive force in July when they took down Michael Smith and his pregnant girlfriend, Andrea Appleton. (KGO-TV)

Public Defender Jeff Adachi says BART police bodycam video shows officers used excessive force in July when they took down Michael Smith and his pregnant girlfriend, Andrea Appleton.

An internal affairs investigation is underway into that arrest. In the meantime, the man arrested was acquitted by a jury on some of the battery charges against a peace officer.

The San Francisco district attorney is deciding whether or not to retry this case and whether BART police used excessive force while arresting Smith and if they did whether or not his response in resisting their arrest was reasonable.

"They were saying get down, get down and we didn't know what we were getting down for," Smith's girlfriend Andrea Appleton said.

BART police received a report before the incident occurred. "I'm reporting two African Americans on a BART train right now, one just threatened to rob me we believe he has a weapon on him," a BART officer said.

Appleton says the man who called 911 had been cursing at them and telling them they smelled.

Neither Smith nor Appleton was armed.

When asked if officers used excessive force, BART Police Department Deputy Chief Jeffrey Jennings said: "Absolutely not, it was a perfect response to what they had a person with a weapon," BART Police Department Deputy Chief Jeffrey Jennings said.

The Public defender shared pictures of Smith's injuries. In the video, you can see an officer hit Smith after he spit. "Some would say it was a punch, I say it was a distraction blow," Jennings said.
Appleton says she believes an officer who placed a knee on her back while she was belly down caused her to miscarry. "When I first found out I lost my baby, I was stressful I was hurt, I was lost," she said.

The district attorney's office says a jury acquitted Smith on three battery counts and was hung on four others including, resisting arrest. "There was three of us that were pretty adamant that it was excessive force and he had every right to defend himself," juror John Mayhew said.

The district attorney is deciding whether to re-try the case. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson says the video the public defender showed was edited saying: "In excluding the evidence, the judge cited editorial choices that were made, such as altering the audio levels and omitting segments where the defendant is alleged to have bit, kicked and spit on BART police officers."
"All he had to do was comply," Jennings said.

The BART police officers involved are still on patrol while an internal affairs investigation is underway.

The results of the investigation will not be made public.

Maxwell Szabo, a communications and legislative affairs manager, released a statement saying: "Today the public defender released an edited sequence of body camera footage that a judge excluded from evidence. In excluding the evidence, the judge cited editorial choices that were made, such as altering the audio levels and omitting segments where the defendant is alleged to have bit, kicked, and spit on BART police officers. When a jury reviewed the unedited versions of the videos, a majority found the defendant guilty of battery and resisting arrest. The district attorney's office is currently evaluating whether we will pursue this case further."

Related Topics:
violencebody camerasarrestBARTSan FranciscoEmbarcadero
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