Naked BART Acrobat Denied Mental Health Services In SF, Judge To Rule On Release

A San Francisco Superior Court judge will rule today on whether a man who allegedly stripped naked and harassed people while doing acrobatic moves at a BART station can be released to obtain mental health services in another county.

Yeiner Garizabalo, 24, is awaiting trial on charges of false imprisonment, battery and sexual battery for the May 10 incident at the 16th Street Mission BART station.

Garizabalo allegedly ran naked through the station, attacking a BART employee and grabbing several customers while doing a backflip and other acrobatic moves. The incident was captured in a video posted on YouTube that went viral on social media in the weeks afterward.

Garizabalo’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Paul Myslin, said his client suffered some sort of mental breakdown but has since been stabilized on medication.

Myslin sought to have his client entered into the city’s Behavioral Health Court, which provides services for mentally ill offenders, but was told that because Garizabalo is not a San Francisco resident, he was not eligible.

Garizabalo was living on the couches of friends in Berkeley at the time of the May incident so the city is considering him an Alameda County resident, Myslin said.

But in order to enter into a facility in that county, he has to be released from San Francisco, a move the city’s prosecutors oppose.

“In the interest of public safety, the community at large and the defendant himself, we are opposed to the defendant being released in the manner it is being proposed,” district attorney’s office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Myslin said, “At this point he’s compliant, he has a place to go, but we’re in a catch-22 situation.”

The attorney filed a motion asking for Garizabalo to be released on his own recognizance—he is currently being held on $100,000 bail—and a judge will rule on the motion at a hearing this afternoon.

If the motion is denied, Myslin said his client has exercised his right to a speedy trial that must start by Oct. 18.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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