A still from a video shows two BART officers detaining a young man at Embarcadero BART Station on Friday, July 29, 2016. (Photo courtesy Pamela Martinez/Facebook)

A still from a video shows two BART officers detaining a young man at Embarcadero BART Station on Friday, July 29, 2016. (Photo courtesy Pamela Martinez/Facebook)

Not guilty verdict in BART police confrontation trial

A San Francisco jury Wednesday acquitted a man charged in connection with a confrontation with BART police this summer that was captured by both bystander and officer body cameras.

Jurors found Michael Smith, 22, not guilty of four counts of misdemeanor battery on a police officer and hung 9-3 on three other counts of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest, according to Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who represented Smith in the case.

SEE RELATED: Police say suspect in violent arrest caught on video had assaulted officers

Smith was arrested July 29 following a struggle with police at San Francisco’s Embarcadero BART station. The incident drew public outcry after bystander videos showed officers struggling with him and punching him in the head while he was pinned on his stomach.

BART police said they were responding to a 911 call reporting an attempted robbery and alleged that Smith physically resisted when officers tried to detain him, kicking one officer in the head and throat, biting another and spitting on a third.

Adachi argued that Smith was attempting to protect his pregnant girlfriend, who had been the subject of a tense confrontation on the train a short time earlier that may have led to the false attempted robbery allegation.

The case appears to have been the first in San Francisco to involve officer body camera footage, and Adachi said jurors told him that was crucial in their decision to reject the prosecution’s case.

“I’m so grateful for the jury and the jury system,” Adachi said. “We had jurors who carefully looked at the evidence and concluded that the BART police used excessive force when they shouldn’t have and that Michael acted in order to save his pregnant girlfriend.”

Untitled-1

Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeinkCrime

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read