[WATCH] Couple in San Francisco Sue BART Police After Violent Arrest Causes Miscarriage

A couple taken to the ground and arrested during a video-recorded encounter with BART police at a San Francisco train station are suing the agency in federal court, alleging that officers violated their civil rights and caused the woman to suffer a miscarriage.

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 1 at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Michael Smith and Andrea Appleton accused the arresting officers — Bryan Trabanino, Wilson Velasquez-Ochoa, Jimmy Chung and Antwinette Turner — of using excessive force when they approached the couple with their guns drawn on July 29, 2016, and forced them onto their stomachs at Embarcadero Station.

Appleton was pregnant at the time and suffered a miscarriage the next day, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages for pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, humiliation and emotional distress. Smith ended up being prosecuted in a racially charged trial, and was ultimately cleared.

A white BART passenger called 911 to report that two African American passengers threatened to rob him and were possibly armed. After a violent confrontation on the Embarcadero platform, it was determined that neither Matthew Smith or Andrea Appleton were armed. Smith was charged, and later acquitted for allegedly assaulting the officers, but was not charge with anything related to the 911 caller.

Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, declined to comment, saying the agency had not reviewed the suit. In the past, the agency has noted that video footage showed Smith struggling with the officers and spitting at one of them.

The couple said they had been traveling to a doctor’s appointment when a man on their train told them to move away because they smelled, sparking an argument. The man, who was white, then called police and falsely reported that Smith, who is black, had threatened to rob him, telling dispatchers that Smith may have had a gun, though he did not.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 2702 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • JMdona

    What about the white passenger who made the false police report…was he charged with making false accusation. He should be held liable in the lawsuit as well.

  • Ben Ragland

    Can we stop fucking saying a white person did this and a black person did this? How about names or just “a person” or “another passenger”. Stop fucking race baiting.

    • highroller2012

      Wish we could ask Emmitt Till & countless others.

    • zozimos

      Maybe you should suggest that to “another passenger” who falsely reported an African American was threatening to rob him? Sounds like that is where the ‘fucking race baiting’ started.

  • highroller2012

    Well a white woman said it, now Emmitt Till is dead.