BART Apologizes For Busting Rider Who Ate Sandwich

Matt Bigler
November 12, 2019 - 10:34 am
BART police

SIPA USA

(KCBS Radio) — BART's sandwich debacle isn't showing any signs of dying down.

A video showing a white police officer detaining a black passenger on the BART platform for eating a sandwich has led to outrage and complaints of racial profiling. 

The video — which was uploaded to Facebook —shows the rider, later identified as Steve Foster of Concord, being stopped and detained by a BART cop.

The situation escalated, with Foster refusing to give his name to the officer and insisting he did nothing wrong. In the footage, the officer grabs hold of Foster's backpack strap and accuses him of resisting arrest. Foster was later handcuffed, then eventually cited and released. 

BART's general manager Bob Powers issued a statement that reads, "I apologize to Mr. Foster, our riders, employees and the public who've had an emotional reaction to the video."

He also pointed out that Foster cursed and used homophobic slurs during the altercation while the officer remained calm. 

Foster did not accept Powers' apology. 

"I feel like we're kind of past the point of no return now," he said to ABC7.

The video has been viewed more than 3.4 million times on Facebook. 

Eating on the BART system is against state law, but a lot of riders do it, and some observers wonder why Foster was singled out.

Reaction to the viral moment has created conflict in other areas of the transit system. BART's police union is angry that BART director Janet Li took part in a 'eat-in' protest at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco over the weekend.

A statement from union leadership says her participation in the protest is "undermining the authority of BART police by advocating lawlessness."

The incident is being investigated by BART's independent police auditor.