New Video Shows BART Cop Breaking a Drunk Woman's Face in Police Lobby

Illustration for article titled New Video Shows BART Cop Breaking a Drunk Woman's Face in Police Lobby

Another reason to support body cams on cops: a newly released video out of San Francisco shows a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer slamming a drunk woman down to the ground rendering her unconscious in a pool of blood with multiple face fractures and broken teeth.


Megan Sheehan, 28, was arrested for being drunk and belligerent at a BART station on St. Patrick’s Day of 2014. According to police reports she struggled with police while arrested and then in the car ride over to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, Sheehan urinated and tried to wipe herself on arresting Officer Nolan Pianta’s pants.

Once Sheehan was escorted into the lobby of the jail she began to riffle through her purse, after Pianta told her to stop Sheehan flicked a hair tie at him. According to Pianta’s incident report, he then attempted to handcuff Sheehan but she tried to punch him.

“To protect myself from her attack and to stop her attack on me,” Pianta wrote, “I used an arm bar takedown and guided her to the ground. Upon guiding her to the ground, she landed on her face and appeared to go unconscious.”

As you can see from the graphic video (start at minute 1:22) Pianta’s description of “guiding” Sheehan to the ground with an “arm bar” is bullshit (we originally had a video from Pianta’s body cam which readers said was unclear).

And here’s how Sheehan’s face looked shortly after being “guided.”

Illustration for article titled New Video Shows BART Cop Breaking a Drunk Woman's Face in Police Lobby

Sheehan’s attorney, Lizabeth de Vries, told SF Gate, “I think the officer acted out of spite, I think he was extremely upset about feeling disrespected by the fact that my client threw the hair tie at him. I think he reacted in a way that was completely disproportionate to the facts and circumstances presented to him.”

No criminal charges were brought against Sheehan, who spent two days in the hospital recovering from her injuries, which totaled four broken cheek bones, a split molar and a cracked front tooth. Sheehan has filed a federal lawsuit against Pianta and BART.


Images: KRON

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Lilly (Hungry hungry hipster!)

That video is shit and I can’t tell what happened.
That being said, no matter how belligerent and annoying she was being, this is pretty much the definition of excessive force. I could see how perhaps it could have been an accident, but police officers need to be trained better so “accidents” like this don’t happen.
(I’m not actually sure if it could have been accidental, I’ve never face planted but I feel like just slipping/twisting out of his grip and falling on her face wouldn’t have caused that much damage... it seems like it would need more force behind it, like a push.)

And I hope the fucking government is paying for her dental work and any other medical needs she has after that, given that it’s their fault.