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.”
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)