Members of the media, including seven SF State journalism students, were arrested and detained today at Powell BART station during the “no fare” BART protest.

SFSU journalism student arrested
SF State journalism student Brad Wilson, 21, is handcuffed and taken away by BART police at the No Justice No BART protest at Powell station on Sept. 8. Photo By Brittney Barsotti.

Approximately 26-30 people were arrested for violating section 369I of the California Penal Code, which states that anyone interfering with the safe operation of a railway is guilty of a misdemeanor.

BART police officers with the assistance of SFPD closed Powell Station at 5:35 p.m., stating that demonstrators had created an unsafe environment for customers exiting and entering fare gates near Hallidie Plaza. Police and BART employees attempted to clear the station, repeatedly asking bystanders and media to leave.

Demonstrators shouted “No justice no peace, disband BART police,” and “You can’t shoot us all” during the protest organized by local activist group No Justice No BART. The protest was the most recent in a string of several demonstrations aimed at spotlighting several recent BART controversies, including the July shooting of Charles Hill at Civic Center station.

Several members of the press who had been detained inside the station by police were asked to hand over SFPD-issued press passes.

“The pass is property of SFPD and subject to revocation and surrender at any time by any uniformed police officer,” said Jim Allison, BART spokesman.

One SF State journalism student, Brad Wilson, 21, attended the protest for the purpose of completing an assignment for his Digital News Gathering class. Wilson was arrested while he was trapped in a circle of people who were impeding traffic. Wilson explained to officers that he was not a protestor, but his pleas to be released were ignored.

“When I told them I was a student doing an assignment, (an officer) said ‘I know, but you’re part of it,'” Wilson said.

Wilson was arrested and held for approximately two hours before he was released.

SF State student journalists Brittney Barsotti, Elizabeth Ireland, Krissa Stanton, Lisa Carmack, Mihail Matikov and Natalia Vasquez were among those detained. Ireland, who was separated from the group by BART police officers, was restrained and told she was being arrested.

The students attended the protest as part of an assignment for the Introduction to Online Journalism class. They were instructed to use social media as a reporting tool to write about what they saw at the protest.

All seven students were eventually released without citation.

Powell station was re-opened  at 7:25 p.m., approximately two hours after being closed. The 43 other stations in the BART system remained open.

BART protest
Christian Rem leads a group of protesters in chants as Jana Katsuyama, from KTVU Fox 2 is surrounded by BART police during the No Justice No BART protest at Powell station on Thursday, Sept. 8. Photo by Brittney Barsotti.
BART protest
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho was handcuffed and led away by BART police during the Sept. 8 "no fare" protest organized by No Justice No BART. Photo by Brittney Barsotti.

32 thoughts on “Students, media detained at BART protest”

  1. What is the point of this anymore? It seems like it’s just pissing people who are trying to commute more than anything else.

    1. The point is, BART cops are killing people at an increased frequency. They’ve killed someone every year for the last 3 years.

      Then there’s the censorship attempts and the attempt to cover up at least one of the shootings.

      If you think this is about your precious commute, you’re wrong.

      1. That’s not what I think it’s about, but these protests aren’t doing jack shit, except screwing over commuters.

        1. Each protest inspires at least one other person to grow a pair and stand up for their rights and reverse the regression of civil rights around the country. Pigs are supposed to protect and serve the public, but clearly they serve their addictions to power/control, and even the ‘good’ ones serve their corporate masters.

          It’s a fact thousands, if not more, people during the civil right’s movements of the ’60s said the same things you were.

          They are trying to make it illegal to film cops around the country. Luckily a few judges have ruled otherwise. We stop protesting, they continue to expand their reach and control over the ever compliant populace.

          1. Fighting on BART, being drunk on BART, wielding a knife on BART, not complying with the requests of law enforcement personnel – all of these things have consequences.

            Not advocating anyone be killed for such things, but when you do stupid stuff – you start in motion things that you have no idea how they will end.

    2. A man was killed. The police gave a narrative of what happened that was contradicted by the people who witnessed it, then refused to release the footage of what happened. If people protested at some official Bart headquarters or something the media wouldn’t cover it and this man would slip into oblivion along with the possible lethal injustice that resulted in his death. This is how it works.

      Your use of the word “anymore” is really sad. Like, the point should be made and then we should all forget about what happened. If we let the authorities know one time they’re getting out of line they’ll shape up and go back to enforcing the mandate we have given them instead of abusing their power. It doesn’t work that way. Impunity and injustice have to be constantly fought against or else they will grow and grow. They have a natural momentum which is enabled by the citizenry’s apathy and faith in authority.

      1. ^^^^ Well said. It’s BEYOND pathetic that the only thing people are understanding about this whole chain of events is that it’s disrupting their commute. These are the things that make you lose faith in humanity.

  2. It’s funny how BART thinks they’re protecting the safety of people within the station by arresting JOURNALISTS.

    These no talent ass-clowns have absolutely no clue about civil rights.

    That’s why they’re about to get sued.

    1. You’re either a journalist or a protester. You can’t be both at the same time. If these so-called “journalists” were also actively involved in the protest, then they cannot not claim any special rights.

      Real journalists know about reporting the news as opposed to making it.

      1. Unless the police try to limit coverage by detaining journalists… the same tactics used by dictators when faced with protests.

        BTW, the consequences of being drunk on BART is death!

      2. “Fighting on BART, being drunk on BART, wielding a knife on BART, not complying with the requests of law enforcement personnel – all of these things have consequences.”

        How has a member of our species devolved into such brainlessness? They are protesting SHOOTINGS, not police enforcing the law.

        Your incompetence gives us SF natives a bad name, please change your name or /wrist.

  3. My Sister was one of the journalism students. She and her class were merely standing, recording, and asking questions. When she and her classmates were detained, they were treated as if they were convicted criminals that would try and escape at any moment. Detainees were even refused bathroom rights. Luckily, she recorded the entire three hours of her detainment and obtained some golden audio. Those people that think police are just doing heir jobs should just wait and listen. This shit is raw.

    1. Your sister is an idiot. She was not merely standing and asking questions, she was interfering with what the police were doing. She was likely given an order to leave and refused to do so. Thats when she went from a “reporter” to a suspect. She got what she deserved. She is lucky she was released without a criminal citation. You said she was refused bathroom rights, do you see bathrooms where the protests were going on? She could have easily used the restroom on her own had she complied with the order to vacate. Yes, the police are doing their jobs. YOU (along with your sister) should just wait and get a clue!

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