San Francisco transit system apologizes after rider detained for eating on platform

The San Francisco transit system apologized Monday to the black rider detained by police for eating a breakfast sandwich on the platform, The Associated Press reported.

Officials at the San Francisco Bay Area commuter train system (BART) said an independent auditor is investigating the incident that occurred earlier this month that ended with the man, who was trying to get to work, in handcuffs, according to the AP. It sparked protests and an eat-in last weekend on the commuter system as demonstrators called the enforcement of the rule racist.

Transit system officials said eating is not allowed in paid portions of the stations to keep up cleanliness, but the rule shouldn’t stop people from getting to work on time.
“We have to read each situation and allow people to get where they are going on time and safely,” AP reported Bob Powers, BART’s general manager, said. “I’m disappointed how the situation unfolded.”

Powers noted in a statement obtained by AP that Foster did not identify himself and cursed at and made homophobic slurs at the officer “who remained calm through out the entire engagement.”

A video of the detainment has been circulating online. The unnamed officer reportedly told the man, Steve Foster, to stop eating on BART, which Foster apparently thought meant he couldn’t while on the train but could on the platform. When the officer caught him still eating, he took his bag and said he could not leave until he told the police his name. The video ends with Foster in handcuffs being led away by police.

Another demonstration is scheduled for this weekend entitled “Eat a McMuffin on BART: They Can’t Stop Us All.”

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