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Model sues, says Bay Area police broke bones in her face during arrest

Bay Area model sues BART police, claiming excessive force during her arrest

A model has filed a suit in which she claims Bay Area police officers slammed her to the ground and broke four bones in her face. Footage from police security and body cameras recorded at least part of the incident.

Megan Sheehan of San Francisco filed a federal lawsuit against the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department, saying officers used excessive force when they detained her during a drunken night on St. Patrick’s Day in 2014.

In U.S. District Court documents, Sheehan says she plans to amend her lawsuit to include the city of Oakland, as well as an Oakland police officer she claims held her hand back during the fall.

The officers’ actions were “willful, wanton, reckless, malicious, oppressive and/or done with a conscious or reckless disregard” for Sheehan’s rights, according to the lawsuit.

Body camera video footage obtained by KGO-TV on Saturday shows officers grabbing Sheehan’s arms and appearing to push her to the ground while the model was being booked in Santa Rita jail. In the background, someone says “Ooh,” after she was thrown to the ground. Another voice  says, “You might want medical.”

Photographs taken at the hospital show Sheehan’s bloodied, bruised and swollen face.

BART spokesman James K. Allison said he couldn’t comment on the case because of the ongoing litigation.

Sheehan rode the BART train to the Lake Merritt substation in Oakland, where she was arrested on suspicion of battery on an officer and resisting arrest, according to the lawsuit.

Once she arrived at the Santa Rita jail, she claims four assailants beat her unconscious. As a result of the beating, four bones on her face were broken. Her front tooth was cracked and her molar was split.

Sheehan was taken to a hospital, where she spent two days receiving treatment.

She was returned to the jail and later released on bail. She says criminal charges were never filed against her.

Sheehan believes officers used excessive and unreasonable force against her and violated her rights.

“Municipal defendants BART and County of Alameda were responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the individuals placed in their custody." the lawsuit stated. "This included but was not limited to protecting those in custody from excessive or punitive uses of force.”

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA.

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