Unruly BART rider had been cited earlier that day

The man who was videotaped getting smashed into a glass window at the West Oakland BART station Saturday was arrested earlier that day in Daly City and cited for allegedly assaulting another passenger.

On Monday, a BART police commander responded to reports that the unruly man, identified as 37-year-old Michael Gibson, is mentally ill. His sister Lisa Gibson said that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The original video — which was uploaded to YouTube but has been pulled from the site by the poster, whom police are still seeking to interview — shows Gibson yelling and acting belligerently. An officer appears on the screen, hauls him off the train and pushes his body up against a glass window. The glass breaks and rains down on Gibson and the officer. Police later said Gibson and the unnamed officer suffered lacerations to their faces. The man also had lacerations on his arms, and the officer sustained a concussion.

BART police have been under intense scrutiny since Jan. 1, when videos surfaced online showing an officer fatally shooting unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III of Hayward.

SamTrans spokeswoman Christine Dunn said that hours earlier Saturday, around 11 a.m., Gibson had been arrested at the transit center next to the Serramonte Shopping Center in Daly City on charges of assault and battery involving another passenger. Gibson allegedly kicked the passenger. He was cited and released, she said.

BART police Cmdr. Daniel Hartwig played several 911 calls in which other passengers report a man of Gibson’s description harassing passengers on the train. One caller said that whenever people would get too close to the person, “He would yell at them to get away.”

Hartwig, who’s overseeing an investigation of the incident, repeatedly noted that the police officer — whose name has not been released because he has not been cited for any wrongdoing — was only informed that the man was belligerent and possibly inebriated, not that he may be mentally ill.

“If the officer had received any other information, the officer might have responded differently,” Hartwig said.

The glass panel, described as original polished quarter-inch glass, was installed in 1971, he said. BART spokesman Linton Johnson said the glass is being replaced as part of a 10-year seismic safety plan, but so far glass has been replaced only on an as-needed basis.

State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, issued a statement Monday saying the incident “reinforces what all of us have known since the Oscar Grant tragedy earlier this year; that BART lacks adequate training and accountability for its police department.”

kworth@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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