Open Letter to BART Board of Directors

The League of Pissed-Off Voters urges BART Directors, BART General Manager, and the Alameda County District Attorney to be on the right side of history — join community organizations, transit advocates, social justice leaders, and thousands of multiracial allies fighting for Black lives.

On November 28, 2014, fourteen protesters locked themselves to BART trains at the West Oakland station. Instead of citing and releasing protesters, or charging them with the same minor infraction applied to the thousands of multiracial allies that have blocked buses, trains, and traffic, a harsher penalty has been discriminatively applied.

Please help us by calling and emailing the BART Board of Directors, and tell them to drop the charges against the BlackFriday14:
(510) 464–6095
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Transit advocates, including a member of the League’s Steering Committee, joined BART Directors Rebecca Saltzman and Nick Josefowitz as they rode BART’s new late night bus to shine a light on this issue and request support for a potential resolution calling for the demand for restitution and criminal charges be dropped against the group of protesters known as the BlackFriday14.

The League believes that the BlackFriday14 have paid significant restitution for their protest. They were held in the Santa Rita Jail and Glenn Dyer Detention facility, and they have expended significant time and resources in their legal proceedings. We call on the BART Board of Directors to pass the following resolution to urge District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley to drop the charges against the BlackFriday14.

The League of Pissed Off Voters offers the following draft language and urges Directors to introduce this resolution at the January 22, 2015 meeting of the BART Board of Directors.

WHEREAS, On November 28, 2014 (the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday), fourteen protesters locked themselves to BART trains at the West Oakland station, causing BART traffic between West Oakland and San Francisco to be halted for two hours; and

WHEREAS, The protest was in response to a call to action from the Black community of Ferguson, Missouri, and was part of the nationwide #BlackLivesMatter effort, that has led to hundreds of thousands of others protesting, often using civil disobedience, against police brutality and racial profiling; and

WHEREAS, The protesters demanded an end to the war on Black communities; and

WHEREAS, The Black Friday protest was nonviolent, nondestructive, and the protesters were respectful of BART police, employees, and passengers; and

WHEREAS, The protesters were arrested by BART Police and charged with misdemeanor trespassing for violating California Penal Code Section 369i(a), and

WHEREAS, Because the protesters were charged with misdemeanors, they were transported to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California and the Glenn Dyer Detention facility in Oakland, California; and

WHEREAS, Had the protesters been charged with infractions, they would have been cited and released at West Oakland station; and

WHEREAS, The Alameda County District Attorney has indicated that if the protesters are found guilty, they would be required to pay up to $70,000 in restitution to BART; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the BART Board of Directors finds that because the protesters were transported to Santa Rita Jail and Glenn Dyer Detention facility, and because their court proceedings have required significant expenditures of time and legal resources, the protesters have been sufficiently punished for their actions; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Board of Directors urges Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley to withdraw the criminal complaint pending against the protesters and suspend the request for restitution in response to the November 28 action, and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Board of Directors directs General Manager Grace Crunican to transmit a copy of this resolution District Attorney O’Malley.

We thank you for your time and attention to this very important matter.

Sincerely,
The SF League of Pissed Off Voters

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