San Francisco News

SFPD plans to act quicker at future BART protests

Friday, August 26, 2011
BART riders happy to hear of police crackdown BART protest held on Aug. 22, 2011

San Francisco police say they've had it with the BART protest group "Anonymous" that has been shutting down BART stations Monday evenings during the commute hour. Now, police are turning the tables on the group.

On Thursday, San Francisco police went public with a list of names and charges facing 35 of the people they arrested Monday for disrupting the commute. The protesters came from all over the Bay Area, as well as Los Angeles, Reno, and even Portland.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr is making it very clear he is not threatening anyone, but vows officers will respond quicker next time before things get out of hand. Dozens of people were arrested last Monday. Some, while not affiliated with Anonymous were actively protesting and say they will be there again. ABC7 spoke with three of those arrested.

Among those arrested Monday night at the Civic Center BART station was Nedra Ruiz, the defense attorney in the 2002 Diane Whipple dog mauling trial.

"I was immediately accosted by a man in riot gear who said, 'You're demonstrating.' And I said I am expressing my freedom of speech, I am exercising my right to associate, make BART safe, disarm BART police' and I was immediately arrested," said Ruiz.

Ruiz said she was charged with trespassing on a railway.

Most of the protestors marched up and down Market Street for hours and were eventually arrested for blocking the street. Chief Greg Suhr says police will not be so patient next time. In a statement he said, "While the demonstrators have the right to protest, we will continue to facilitate it to an extent where it does not infringe the rights of others."

"The police, they just came from all angles. I was on the sidewalk, I just watching," said Cameron.

Cameron only wanted to be identified only by his first name. He said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was arrested. Don't expect to see him at the next protest.

"Oh man, no. I'm staying home. I'm staying far away from all of that. It isn't even my battle," said Cameron.

The Internet hacker group Anonymous criticized the shooting death of a homeless man by a BART police officer and is outraged over BART's decision to shut down cellphone service during a protest. Anonymous claims that violated their right to free speech. BART said the agency was acting to protect the safety of passengers.

Now Anonymous has added new training for BART officers to the list of demands. Jeffrey Auman, who was arrested, agrees.

"The police need to have better training on how to conduct themselves toward a person with mental illness," said Auman.

Auman added he is sorry for making disparaging remarks at police during Monday's protest.

"That is very wrong what I did and I apologize for that," said Auman.

Auman said he will most certainly be at the next protest.

Others arrested were charged with disobeying an officer's orders, obstructing or getting in the way of a police officer, and igniting a flammable or combustible substance. Many of those arrested including Ruiz will be arranged on Monday morning.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
BART, SFPD, greg suhr, protest, san francisco news, lyanne melendez
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