A mini-war has broken out between protesters and San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit System that has led to the periodic closure of railway stations, the arrest of dozens of people and repeated headaches for thousands of daily commuters who rely on the system.
Protesters, including the shadowy community of hacking activists known as Anonymous, want to disrupt the BART system to protest the fatal shooting of a transient named Charles Blair Hill.
Hill was killed by two BART police officers at the Civic Center Station in San Francisco on July 3 after authorities claim he prepared to throw a knife at them.
Police have described Hill as intoxicated and wearing scruffy clothes, but a witness, Molly Hollero, claimed he wasn't threatening the officers in any way.
BART has placed the two policemen involved in the incident on paid leave, but it hasn't explained why they shot the homeless man.
Hill was the fifth person killed by BART police since 1992.
Previous killings have taken on a racial angle, but since Hill was the only white casualty, his death is being treated as the police’s disdain for the poor and indigent.
“BART should be as transparent as possible in this process,” Michael Risher, staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, told a local paper.
Right now it’s inappropriate for anyone to say that they know exactly what has happened, but I hope that BART will immediately release the names of the police officers involved.”
Moreover, civil libertarians were outraged when BART shut down all cellular communications service on Aug.11 to prevent protesters from organizing any more underground rallies against the transit agency.