It may be small consolation to a young couple coping with the loss of a pregnancy. But the remaining misdemeanor charges against Michael Smith, forcibly detained by BART police in a July incident that his girlfriend insists caused her to miscarry, have been dropped after a jury could not decide on multiple counts of battery and resisting arrest.
Smith and his girlfriend Andrea Appleton were both physically restrained by BART police in an arrest whose video footage went viral last fall. Smith, who was not armed but had been accused of carrying a gun, was forcibly arrested and charged with multiple counts of battery of officers and resisting arrest. Appleton was also restrained stomach-down and handcuffed, and claims she miscarried as a result of excessive force.
She was not charged, while Smith was charged but eventually acquitted of four counts of battery of a police officer. Smith’s jury deadlocked on remaining battery and resisting arrest charges, and last week prosecutors dropped the remaining charges against Smith.
“Michael and Andrea are relieved their nightmare is over,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement. “Michael was falsely accused of a crime. That accusation and the excessive force used against him by responding BART officers changed his life and the life of his pregnant partner forever.”
“While their lives will never be the same, the specter of a criminal case is no longer looming against Michael,” Adachi said. “We would like to express our gratitude to the jurors who acquitted Michael of the majority of the charges against him.”
The case has drawn national attention because of Appleton’s allegations of a miscarriage at the hands of BART police. BART police policy forbids handcuffing pregnant women behind their backs, and video of the incident shows Appleton telling officers that she’s pregnant while restrained on her stomach and handcuffed behind her back.