BART Police have their Tasers back, and apparently aren't afraid to use them even on lowly fare evaders.
Regardless of the circumstances, the news that a man was shocked into submission for evading a fare probably won't sit well with many -- included Lynette Sweet, a member of the BART Board of Directors.
BART police told the San Francisco Chroncle that after being spotted exiting a station without paying a fare, the 35-year-old suspect refused to stop when asked repeatedly, allegedly menaced the officer with "a large object bulging from his pocket," and was warned three times to stop before the officer deployed his taser.
The suspect was booked and charged with fare evasion and resisting arrest.
BART was quick to point out the suspect's prior criminal record, including another fare evasion case. Ironic, since Johannes Mehserle's defense team -- who have argued that Mehserle meant to taze Oscar Grant instead of shooting him -- have resisted efforts to have Mehserle's full police record presented to the jury.
Sweet argued that "It's one of the stupidest uses of a Taser I can think of," and suggested that officers still aren't trained well enough in using the shocking devices.
"You could let the suspect go, but now you are sending a message to all suspects that they can put up a fight with officers, and we will have no law and order on the system anymore," argued BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.
Jackson West figures this is not how new BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey wanted to kick off his tenure.