BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Farrow Thursday defended his agency's response to an incident at BART's 16th Street Mission station in San Francisco last month in which a naked acrobat allegedly harassed several passengers and employees.
The response to the May 10 incident "was about as quick as it could have been," Farrow said.
He said San Francisco police, who have a station a block away from the 16th Street station, arrived seven minutes after a station agent reported the incident and BART police one minute later, eight minutes after it was reported.
The BART officers had been called away from the 16th Street station to respond to incidents elsewhere and traveled to the scene from the Montgomery and Civic Center stations in San Francisco, Farrow said.
"I'd like to have had an instantaneous response but we got there as soon as we got a call," Farrow said.
BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said a BART video shows the naked acrobat, Yeiner Perez, 24, doing flips and handstands on fare gates at the station and then harassing several passengers and employees.
Trost said Perez allegedly kicked and pushed a BART employee and then grabbed and pushed an elderly female customer, injuring her lower back.
After Perez was arrested, he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital for observation, she said.
BART also has learned that shortly before the incident inside the station, Perez was jumping on cars on the street outside the station, Trost said. He was clothed at that time, she said.
After Perez was released from the hospital, he was booked on suspicion of one count of misdemeanor battery, Trost said.
The San Francisco District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case but hasn't yet filed charges, she said.
Perez could face additional misdemeanor counts if more victims come forward, Trost said.
Farrow said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is monitoring Perez with a GPS device because he's not a U.S. citizen and is considering whether to deport him.
Farrow said one reason the response by BART police wasn't as quick as he would have liked is that it has 27 vacancies for officers.
"It would help if we have full staffing," he said.
Farrow declined to say how many officers are normally deployed at BART stations but he said there usually are officers at the 16th Street station because it's "an active station," as there many transients and people with mental health issues in the area.
But he said officers are often called to respond to other stations and staffing levels also are based on whether there are special events at other locations in San Francisco or elsewhere.
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