Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Strange but true crime: 16th SF Bart Station

Video emerges of naked man accosting riders at BART station  

Yeiner Perez (photo courtesy of Bart Police)

A video emerged Monday depicting a bizarre incident at a San Francisco BART station last month, with a naked man accosting several passengers and doing flips, handstands, the splits and other gymnastic maneuvers on the BART turnstiles.

The video, recorded May 10 by a BART station agent at the 16th Street Mission Station, shows the man lunge at and attack several passengers, and at one point pound the ground while passengers step gingerly around him.

The video also shows a BART maintenance worker trying to block the man from getting close to passengers. The station agent recording the video helps one woman, who is visibly distressed, hide from the man in the booth.

“Oh my God, I cannot believe that,” the station agent is heard saying as the man does a handstand.

The man was identified by BART police as 24-year-old Yeiner Garizabalo. Friends said Tuesday he goes by Yeiner Perez and is a dedicated acrobat and performer. The episode, they said, was strongly out of character.

“He’s been through a lot of stress — he seems to have been having a breakdown,” said Slim Chance, who leads the Berkeley circus troupe ClownSnotBombs. Perez was a member from January to early May. “That seems to be the tip of it right there. I just can’t tell you anything more because I don’t really know what his state is. It’s not at all like his normal character.” Chance said Perez, normally a “workaholic acrobat,” stopped showing up to the group’s practices several days before the episode.

“I don’t think it was anything with drugs,” Chance said. “I don’t know. We’re thinking he may have even had a stroke sometime last year. We’ve been trying to piece it together ourselves.”

A version of the video, edited by the Chronicle to remove some nudity, is below. It still contains nudity and profanity, so please view with caution. (The original version can be viewed @

Both the station agent and the maintenance worker followed protocol and “handled it in the proper way,” said BART spokesman Jim Allison.

Allison praised the actions of the maintenance worker, calling him “the real hero.” BART officials took the maintenance worker out to dinner and gave him a day off with pay for stepping in, Allison said.

The station agent can be heard in the video asking why police officers took so long to arrive. Allison said BART police were not nearby and came as quickly as they could — in seven minutes.

San Francisco police arrived first and arrested Perez without much struggle, said Officer Wilson Ng, a department spokesman. BART police arrived a minute later and made the official police report, Allison said.

One elderly woman injured her back when she was pushed by Perez, Allison said. The maintenance worker, Allison said, was also kicked and pushed several times.

Perez was taken to California Pacific Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation and then was kept by the facility on an emergency psychiatric hold, Allison said. He was later released, though Allison did not know when. BART police have issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of misdemeanor battery.

A BART workers’ union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, used still images of the incident in a six-minute video describing the job hazards of working for BART — an effort to gain leverage in ongoing contract negotiations.

Posted By: Ellen Huet | Jun 11 at 5:28 pm
Listed Under: Strange but true crime |

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