San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released police body camera video (below) on Dec. 21 of police arresting a man and a woman, and the woman claims that officers caused her to have a miscarriage on July 29.
In the video, BART transit police officers yell at Michael Smith to get down on the ground at a metro station, notes KTVU. Smith is pinned to the concrete by police, spits at them, and has his head slammed to the ground by an officer.
A BART passenger had called 911 and accused Smith and his girlfriend, Andrea Appleton, who was pregnant at the time, of being armed with a gun and threatening to rob him.
"Keep in mind that up to this point [Smith is] not being told anything about why he's being stopped," Adachi stated at a press conference while showing the body cam video.
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"And under the law, police have to tell you why you're being stopped," Adachi added.
An officer can be seen on the video with his knee on top of Appleton's back as she lays face down on the concrete.
Both Smith and Appleton alerted the police of her pregnancy in the video, but there does not appear to be any change in the cops' actions.
No gun was ever found, and the couple was not charged with attempted robbery. Smith was charged with several crimes stemming from the arrest (for the non-existent attempted robbery).
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Appleton lost the baby two weeks later, which she blamed on the police's excessive force at Adachi's press conference: "It's not fair to me and my boyfriend to lose our child and be having to go through this."
Barbara Attard, a use of force expert, said at the press conference: "The officers actually lied in some of their statements and some of their police reports."
BART is doing an internal investigation of its own officers that will not be disclosed until January, but BART Deputy Chief Jeff Jennings is already defending them:
If Mr. Smith would have just sat there and put his hands up and went down on ground, chose not to spit, chose not to kick, chose not to bite my officers, he would have been home and none of this would have happened.
The court system has disagreed with Jennings so far.
Smith has been acquitted on four counts of battery on a police officer. However, he still has three more misdemeanor charges, which Adachi wants dropped by the District Attorney's Office.
Appleton said that the passenger who called the police was a white man who had been harassing her and Smith on the BART train, notes SFGate.
According to Appleton, she and Smith were going to her doctor’s appointment when the white passenger told them that they smelled.
Appleton's version was supported by two other witnesses during Smith's trial.
Appleton added that she and Smith got off the train early just to get away from the white passenger and were met by the cops waving their guns.