Black passenger detained and handcuffed by white police officer for eating sandwich on station platform

Activists stage 'eat-ins' as supporters decry passenger's citation for eating his breakfast

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 11 November 2019 19:33
Comments
San Francisco residents have responded in outcry after a black man was seen receiving a citation for eating a breakfast sandwich on a train platform last week.
San Francisco residents have responded in outcry after a black man was seen receiving a citation for eating a breakfast sandwich on a train platform last week.

Officials have launched an investigation after a viral video showed a white transit officer seemingly detaining a black man for eating a sandwich on a train platform in San Francisco.

Steve Foster was eating his breakfast before riding the BART, the subway system in the San Francisco Bay Area, when he was approached by the officer last week.

He can be heard telling the officer in a video shared to his profile: “You singled me out of all these people.”

“You’re eating”, the officer can be heard saying in response.

Mr Foster replied: “So what?”

The video caused a backlash among San Francisco residents and officials, who participated in an “eat-in” protest on BART train platforms during the weekend and criticised the incident as an act of racism.

BART later confirmed the passenger was issued a citation on 4 November, adding that he “was not arrested” but rather “cited for eating which is a violation of state law”.

The statement continued: “It isn’t just a policy or ordinance, it is penal code.”

Rebecca Saltzman, BART’s board vice president, also said she and “other BART directors are following up with management” after the subway system’s independent police auditor received a complaint about the incident.

While an extended video of the exchange showed the passenger berating the officer, demonstrators who showed up to a protest told media there were bigger priority issues the subway system was facing than handing out citations for eating food.

“We can be doing better things, like preventing people from defecating or whatever on BART,” one resident named Nika Sanchez told NBC Bay Area.

John Riemann, another demonstrator at the eat-in, told ABC 7 News: “To me, I have no doubt this guy was treated differently because he is a young black man.”

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