11/23 2:31 PM: In a statement, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano does not seem like he’s on Team BART. Here’s the statement:
The video of this arrest reinforces what all of us have known since the Oscar Grant tragedy earlier this year; that BART lacks adequate training and accountability for its police department. While BART’s management has at least learned the value of responding to these incidents quickly, the lesson that needs to be learned is that BART and its police department have a long way to go to restore trust with the community. The first step towards that goal is ensuring that BART has a safe, professional police department.
11/23 8 AM: As Ced noted, the YouTube video’s been removed by the user, who claimed that it was footage of “BART cop puts drunk guy’s head through the widow.” Is this witness recanting his account of events, in light of the many comments critical of his version? Who knows? We’ve replaced the deleted video with a CNN segment that includes much of the footage, with an interesting interview with BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.
11/22 5:10 PM: BART’s released a statement, here it is:
BART POLICE OFFICER INJURED ARRESTING UNRULY RIDER AT WEST OAKLAND STATION
A BART Police Officer received lacerations and a concussion during the arrest he made last night of an unruly suspect whom he removed from a train. The officer was responding to multiple passenger complaints of a disturbance on the train.
Portions of this incident were captured on train and platform video as well as a passenger’s video, which has been uploaded to YouTube.
“This is a use-of-force case that we will thoroughly investigate,” BART Police Patrol Commander Daniel O. Hartwig said. “We will review all available information and video and are requesting anybody with any other video or information to please come forward.”
WHAT HAPPENED Around 5:40 p.m. Saturday, passengers alerted BART Police Dispatch to a disturbance on a Pittsburg/Bay Point bound train at West Oakland Station.
Witnesses reported the suspect, later identified as 37-year-old Michael Joseph Gibson of San Leandro, appeared to be intoxicated and was yelling racial slurs and profanity at passengers and challenging customers to fight.
The officer, who was already on duty at West Oakland BART Station, immediately responded to the platform. The officer removed the suspect from the train and led him to the platform wall in an attempt to place him under arrest. During that attempt, the heavy-duty glass portion of the wall was broken and showered down on the officer and the suspect. The officer suffered facial cuts requiring multiple stitches as well as a concussion. The suspect suffered multiple lacerations to his right hand, right forearm, right palm and a minor cut to his head. However, none of the suspect’s injuries required stitches.
BART customers as well as two off-duty police officers from Alameda Police Department and the Oakland Police Department came to the officer’s aid. They assisted in handcuffing the suspect.
“We would like to acknowledge the actions of the two off-duty police officers as well as the BART customers who assisted in the apprehension of this suspect,” Commander Hartwig said.
BART immediately requested medical help for both the officer and the suspect. The paramedics took both the officer and the suspect to Oakland hospitals where they received treatment for their injuries.
Once medically cleared, the suspect was booked into Santa Rita County Jail.
The officer is on industrial leave – unable to perform his duties because of his injuries
USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATION
This incident will be investigated in accordance with the BART Police Department’s new policy of reviewing all use-of-force incidents. The updated policy now covers all uses-of-force incidents, not just significant events.
“In all use-of-force investigations we determine whether the force required to take a suspect into custody is justified and within our use-of-force policy,” Commander Hartwig said.
CHARGES AGAINST SUSPECT The suspect now faces charges of battery on a police officer with injury (felony), obstruction and resisting an officer (felony) and disorderly conduct – intoxicated in public (misdemeanor).
11/22 4:49 PM (BCN): A BART police officer was injured while removing an unruly passenger from a train at the West Oakland station Saturday night, an agency spokesman said today.
The incident, reported at 5:40 p.m., was captured on video and broadcast on YouTube today, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson.
Witnesses reported the passenger, identified as 37-year-old Michael Joseph Gibson of San Leandro, appeared to be intoxicated and was yelling racial slurs and profanity at other passengers on a train, Johnson said.
The video depicts the officer pulling Gibson off the train and across the platform before the two hit a glass frame, shattering the glass.
Johnson said the officer suffered facial cuts requiring multiple stitches, and a concussion.
He said Gibson also received multiple lacerations. The two were taken to different hospitals and released later that night.
Gibson was taken into custody on suspicion of battery on a police officer with injury, obstruction and resisting an officer, and disorderly conduct for being intoxicated in public.