Criminal Charges vs Mental Health: Naked Acrobat Display at San Francisco Bart Station

When 24-year-old Yeiner Garizabaldo (known as Yeiner Perez to his friends) is the name of the naked acrobat who has been charged on at least two felony counts of false imprisonment (CA Penal Code §236), a misdemeanor count of sexual battery (CA Penal Code §243.4) , and four misdemeanor counts of battery on public transportation property (CA Penal Code §240-248).  What could a young, professional acrobat have done to face such allegations?  Most of us have heard the story – Perez was in the middle of rehearsal for a show at the Stage Werx Theatre when his friends noticed that he quickly and unexpectedly became non-responsive.  He walked out of the building and proceeded to the local BART station, where he gave the awaiting passengers a show; he tumbled, did flips and handstands, and front flips – but he did them in the nude.

As the video of the “naked acrobat” has now gone viral, most of us have seen the footage of Perez.  It is evident to anyone who has watched the film that this young man is in serious need of psychiatric help.  He clearly has no idea where he is or what he is doing and only lashes out at those who attempt to stop him or who come too close.  Instead, he seems to be in some sort of trance and at least one mental health professional that has met with Perez has mentioned the fact that, in his mug shot, one can see that one side of his face is temporarily palsied.  Although it may be important to the delicate sensibilities of some that Perez never have the opportunity to offer an encore performance like that of May 10th, it is difficult to see the situation as criminal and deserving of what Perez now faces.  Simply put, he is a man in need of psychiatric assistance and nothing more.