California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are refusing to release surveillance video of assaults aboard its trains, saying to do so would “create a racial bias” and accusing the media of exploiting the images for ratings.
BART announced last week it would also no longer issue press releases about crimes on the transit system, instead submitting incidents to the website CrimeMapping.com.
“Disproportionate elevation of crimes on transit interfaces with local media in such a way to unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports and a high level of racially insensitive commentary directed toward the District through our social-media channels, email and call centers,” assistant general manager Kerry Hamill said.
Recent incidents of onboard violence have attracted media attention, with reports of passengers’ phones and other property being taken and some passengers being beaten. Most incidents have been linked to the Coliseum station in Oakland.
A woman had her phone snatched June 30 in a swarming attack by “about a dozen teenagers,” who got off the train at the Coliseum stop. Two days before, four teens took a cellphone from a passenger they attacked at the Dublin station. On April 22, 40-60 teens boarded the train at the Coliseum station and robbed seven passengers and beat up two. (Read more from “Surveillance Video of Criminals Now ‘Racist'” HERE)