SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KRON) — An East Bay woman is accusing BART officers of excessive force after the woman did not pay the fare.
The incident happened in 2019 and it was captured on police body camera video.
On Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed against the BART officers involved.
It was December 31, 2019 when Satae’zja Devereaux was approached by BART police, accused of not paying the fare at the Bay Fair Station in San Leandro.
Police body camera recorded the incident.
“So you’re being detained for fare evasion, you’re not free to leave okay,” a BART officer said.
In the video you can hear Devereaux offering to pay the fare but the officers deny the request.
And then the encounter took a different turn.
“Whoa, please don’t touch me,” Devereaux said. “Stop. Don’t touch me. Get off.”
Devereaux alleges the officers failed to issue a verbal warning before using force.
Wednesday, a lawsuit has been filed accusing the BART officers of excessive force.
“Given the way in which the officers including the sergeant was so comfortable using this brutish, display of force in public broad daylight, it appears to be that BART still has not gotten the message,” Attorney Adante Pointer said.
Pointer says his client evaded the BART fare but the outcome was out of line.
“This is a $3.60 fare evasion,” Pointer said. “There’s no way for that small amount of money for what is a minor infraction that a person should wind up getting punched multiple times, thrown to the ground, pressed against the ground in such a way that is hard for you to to breathe and you start thinking about is this where I’m going to die.”
After the incident, Devereaux was taken to jail charged with resisting arrest and fare evasion,
Pointer says the charges have been dismissed by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
A statement on behalf of the BART Police Officers’ Association reads:
“The allegations in a lawsuit are just that and selective images do not accurately convey the totality of the encounter. We are confident the officers will prevail after all the evidence is considered through the judicial process.”
BART confirms Devereaux’s arrest.
In a statement the agency says in part quote:
“While BART cannot comment on pending or anticipated litigation or personnel matters, BART and its police department take all use of force incidents seriously. Nothing is more critical than building trust with riders and the communities we serve through equitable policing practices. BART’s general manager, chief of police, and independent police auditor are working hard to advance progressive policing reforms to ensure our policies, training, and de-escalation tactics exceed industry standards.”