Watch this disturbing video: A black man on BART is tasered by a cop after ignoring the cop's repeated request to get off the train.
Around 10pm on January 29, Vidya Kaipa was on a train car heading toward Millbrae BART station, when a “large drunk, black man” got on around Glen Park, sat down next to her and started to talk to her. Although she felt a little uncomfortable, Kaipa said she “didn’t at all feel threatened by him.”
“He was a pretty nice guy, and was making harmless conversation,” she told me.
Twenty minutes later, a police officer got onto the car at the San Bruno station. He approached the black man, whose name Kaipa believed to be Robert, and politely asked him to get off the train so he could ask him a few questions.
“Someone must have tipped him off since he was waiting at the station,” Kaipa said. She thinks someone might have called the cop because they believed she—a small Indian woman—was being harassed by the man.
The police officer repeatedly asked the man to get off the train. "Get off the train, sir. Sir, get off the train," he kept repeating. Robert refused to obey the cop’s orders, instead asking why he was being taken off the train.
Kaipa chimed in, saying, "It’s fine. He’s not bothering me. It’s okay.”
“It went from being about me to being about the police officer,” Kaipa adds.
The cop repeated that he just wanted to ask Robert a few questions, and that Robert would be free to get onto the next train. Despite the police officer’s politeness, Robert refused to get off of the train. He kept demanding to know why.
By this point, the train had been stopped for five minutes. Then the officer pulled Robert up from his seat and he stood up.
That’s when the video starts. The police officer asks Robert to get off the train at least 15 more times. After a brief back and forth, the police officer tases him. Robert collapses onto the floor, howling and crying. The cop drags his limp body out of the way.
Kapia repeatedly says, “He wasn’t doing anything.” Other passengers on the train also pointed out the same thing. (You can read Vidya Kaipa’s full account here.)
Robert echoes many times,” I didn’t do nothing, you tased me for no reason.”
Other policemen file into the car. While Robert is on the floor, restrained and posing no real threat, he is again tased. Police officers later carry Robert out of the BART car.
BART’s taser policy states that “an officer can use a Taser if the suspect poses an immediate threat of bodily harm to either the officer's life or another person's life.”
Robert was arrested on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest.