S.F. Cops on BART Glass-Shattering Incident: C'est La Vie

Every once in a while, we give a call to a veteran San Francisco police officer with 20 years of patrol experience. Naturally we phoned him up to get his take on the weekend incident in which a BART officer removing a disorderly man from a train resulted in a  YouTube video titled “Officer Breaks Window With Drunks Face.”

The San Francisco officer noted to us that, yes, it looked like there was “a little bit of intent” form the BART cop, and, no, the BART cop certainly couldn't have expected the window to shatter. And, yes again, this shouldn't happen in San Francisco where policy ostensibly instructs officers not to push people into the wall (they're more dangerous that way, believe it or not). But that wasn't the point.

“Look, all this stuff is just hair-splitting focusing on tiny things and missing the larger issue,” he said. “People want the police to come in and make dramatic changes in drunken, violent people's uncooperative behavior in the short-term. In an ideal world, we'd clear out the train, bring in extra cops and a counselor and turn everything into a hostage situation where we minimize potential injury to everyone, including the cops. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work that way. People want a perfect, hermetically sealed resolution to all these things. But when you get violent and drunk people, this is what happens.”

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