Demian Bulwa, 04/01/12
A BART police sergeant who was suspended for 30 days after firing his Taser at a 13-year-old suspect on a bicycle was cleared of excessive force allegations by an arbitrator, his attorney said Friday.
The 2010 incident in Richmond prompted then-BART Police Chief Dash Butler to strip all officers of Tasers until the agency could provide more training and update its policies.
Arbitrator Joseph Gentile earlier this month cleared Sgt. John Austin of allegations that he violated the department’s use-of-force and Taser policies. Austin was awarded back pay related to his suspension, said his attorney, Justin Buffington.
The incident occurred on April 1, 2010, after the boy was in an altercation with a woman at BART in Richmond. Buffington said Austin was told inaccurately that the boy had assaulted the woman with a bottle.
Austin spotted the boy, who fled on a bike. After a brief chase, Austin fired the electric darts of his Taser at the boy from his squad car, but missed, Buffington said. BART had asserted that the bike was moving at the time, but Buffington said the boy had stopped.