August 22, 2011A Message to BART Passengers from No Justice No BART
What was the first thing that 7 BART Police Officers did on January 1st, 2009, after a shot rang out, and they realized that their fellow cop had shot an unarmed, innocent man in the back for no reason? Did they call for help? Did they administer CPR? No, they circulated on the platform and attempted to confiscate cell phones from all of the witnesses. Was it an accident, then, that 3 years later, that in response to rumors of yet another protest of yet another BART police killing, BART would respond by disabling the cell phones of all of its passengers?
On Sunday July 3rd BART police officer James Crowell gunned down Charles Hill, a man who was so drunk that witnesses described him as unable to stand, and were worried he might fall on the tracks. Crowell fired 3 shots literally 20 seconds after he and his partner arrived on the scene, and both officers have been commended and offered the full support of BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey. Witnesses to the shooting claim Hill posed no threat to the officers, and dispute everything about the police account. The video bears out everything the witnesses have said, and exposes the account advanced by Police Chief Rainey as full of lies. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the exact same thing happened after the Oscar Grant shooting.
Passengers often wonder why we protest here in the stations. We do it because BART does not listen to what we have to say otherwise. We know because we’ve tried, we’ve tried going to BART board meetings, we have tried protesting in the “free speech” zones touted by Bart Spokesperson Linton Johnson. The BART Board of Directors is not hearing our message: WE DON’T TRUST BART TO RUN ITS OWN POLICE DEPARTMENT. If the reasons for this statement weren't made blatantly clear to you by the repeated killings and beatings administered to BART passengers by the BART Police, consider that they turned off your ability to call 911, and have repeatedly closed metal gates to cover emergency exits at stations with hundreds of innocent and unaware passengers trapped inside. And why are they doing this? To keep protesters from giving you flyers like the one you are reading now. BART police are literally a health and safety hazard.
Please join us in telling BART that, after all this time, after all these scandals, after the repeated and unnecessary killings of BART passengers, we don’t want another empty promise of “improvement”. The BART Police must be disbanded so BART can stay focused on its mission: providing public transit.