BART protesters clash with police, commuters

Protesters took to the streets Monday night in response to what they believed to be systematic problems with BART, including police brutality and alleged free speech violations when the transit system threatened to shut down cell phone service.

Two protesters are knocked down by San Francisco police officers at Market street in San Francisco during a demonstration and march against BART on Aug. 22, 2011. Photo by Erik Verduzco.
BART Police protest
A protester is tackled by San Francisco police officers after attempting to start a fire in the middle of the street during a demonstration against BART on Market street in San Francisco, Calif. on Aug. 22, 2011. Photo by Erik Verduzco.

“It’s not just a few bad apples, it’s the whole fucking barrel,” said James Foley, an Oakland resident who attended the protest.

This protest initially built upon another protest that took place on August 11 in response the death of a man named Charles Hill, who was shot by BART police on July 3. BART police reported that he lunged at officers, while some witnesses assert that he was unarmed.

The protest began on the Civic Center Station platform. At approximately 5:27, police shut down the station, ordering protesters to leave or risk arrest. The protest then caused the closure of Powell and part of Montgomery stations.

At 6:15, marchers began from Embarcadero station back to Montgomery. The group started as 50 and swelled to about 150 as it continued back to Civic Center.

Not all who were in range of the protest were in support, as angry commuters shouted at protesters and got into verbal altercations with them.

“Police are here to protect people like us. They have jobs and families, too, just like us,” said Yvette Delozada, a 45-year-old resident of Daly City. “It’s unfortunate what happened to Oscar Grant and everything, but sometimes shit happens and there’s nothing you can do. I’d feel safer near a cop with a gun than a cop without one.”

After protestors returned to Civic Center, they swarmed the street and blocked traffic, urging onlookers to join if they cared about people being murdered by police. The sheriff’s office arrived at the scene at 7:08 p.m. Protesters were allowed to continue demonstrating as long as they stayed on the sidewalk.

There was a total of 45 arrests and all stations reopened at 8:37 p.m.