Bart Protests

There’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing actions like the recent Bart protests go down.  Yes, it sucks that we protestors are disrupting an average commuter’s day, but that’s really the whole point.  People need to be disrupted from their routine in order for them to be awakened to the sad reality we live in.

The Bart protests may very well be the frontline of the cultural shift in California.  I’m not sure how a social scientist might be measuring stuff like this, but I will continue to observe it and participate to the extent I’m comfortable with.

As I was on my way to the protest last night (I was late and didn’t get there in time), I was handed a flyer with the following language:

“Dear BART Passenger, 

A message from the Organizers of 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 [Oscar Grant] in the back for no reason?  Did they call for help?  Did they administer CPR?  no, they circulated on the platform and attempted to confiscated 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 that wasn’t blatantly clear to you by now consider that BART police turned off your ability to call 911, to keep protestors 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.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Anybody who has undergone their own moral evolution should find it unacceptable to live in a police state.  All we need to do is “self-police.”  This would also save us lots of fictional money on taxes since there would be no police department to financially support.

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