A San Francisco woman claims she miscarried after Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police roughed her up in a July police encounter as depicted in a footage released Wednesday, Dec. 21.
The woman, 24-year-old Andrea Appleton, told The San Francisco Chronicle in an Dec. 21 interview that the police encounter was sparked by a 911 call from a white man alleging that her boyfriend tried to rob him.
“It’s not right,” Appleton told the paper. “It’s not fair to me or my boyfriend to lose our child and to have to go through this.”
On July 29, Appleton and her 22-year-old boyfriend, Michael Smith, were on the way to a doctor’s appointment. But what should have been a normal train ride went south when a white man on the BART train began arguing with them and saying they smelled.
Apparently, the white passenger called police, for when the couple got off at the Embarcadero Station, they came face to face with BART officers. The white man told police that Smith threatened to rob him, but it was later revealed through witnesses that the man fabricated the story.
Police bodycam footage released by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office show officers with guns drawn on Smith and Appleton as soon as they exit the train. Smith can be seen kicking at an officer as they try to take him into custody but an onlooker repeatedly tells him to calm down and cooperate.
Another officer manhandled Appleton to the ground and put his knee in her back. She repeatedly informed him that she was pregnant and he subsequently helped her to her feet.
Smith was acquitted the week of Dec. 12 of battery on an officer and other charges. Now, Public Defender Jeff Adachi wants the remaining misdemeanor charges against Smith dismissed, according to CBS San Francisco.
“This case was a classic case of racial profiling,” Adachi says. “The person who made the false report has gotten off scot-free. Nothing happened to him and that’s the real injustice in this case.”
Adachi told the outlet that Appleton was in her first trimester and the officer had “his knee in her back for 21 seconds.”
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told CBS San Francisco that the department’s internal affairs unit is investigating the incident.
“BART Police is a progressive agency and has been on the forefront – and in some cases the model approach – to training in the areas of fair and impartial policing, bias-based policing, crisis intervention, cultural competence training, and de-escalation training,” she said.
In Appleton’s case, Trost said that the woman did not appear pregnant.
“She was not visibly showing,” Trost said. “After the adult female said she was pregnant, body cameras show the officer treated her with respect stood her up in a comfortable position almost immediately … and asked her about her well-being or if she needed medical attention, which she declined.”