A parolee who was shocked twice with a Taser by a BART police officer onboard a train at the San Bruno Station has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking unspecified damages. The suit, reports SFGate, alleges that Robert Asberry was the victim of "unlawful use of force" at the hands of the transit agency and that he "was not suspected of committing a criminal offense justifying the use of force."
The incident occurred on a Millbrae-bound train around 10 p.m on Jan. 29, 2014. BART police were called to the scene where there were reports of someone who was “drunk and harassing patrons,” per a police log. An officer boarded the train and repeatedly encouraged Asberry to exit the car, which he refused to do. “Upon detention, the suspect became resistive and a Taser had to be used to take him into custody,” reads the log entry.
Asberry had a no-bail warrant for violating parole as authorities discovered when they ran a check. First they medically cleared Asberry at a hospital, then booked him at San Mateo County Jail on the warrant, suspicion of resisting arrest, and public intoxication.
According to agency policy, officers can use a Taser only under the circumstance that a suspect “poses an immediate threat to the officer or a member of the public.” BART investigated the incident, forwarding the video to an independent police auditor for review.
BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said that, "Our first resort is to get voluntary compliance and, as you can see, that officer was extremely patient. The idea the officer has to wait to be struck or kicked or something else done to him before (taking) defensive action is just wrong.”