As previously reported, dozens of people were arrested by SFPD Monday night during yet another protest centered around the Civic Center BART station. Civic Center station closed at around 5:30, after which protesters took to the streets where many were eventually detained.
But who are these people, whom the Chronicle today describes as having “oppression envy”? SFPD released a spreadsheet of the 35 people they arrested (you can see it here — at their request, we’ve redacted the name of the juvenile arrestee), and the results are…probably just about what you’d expect, heavy on the twentysomething males.
Of the 35 arrested, 16 of them were from SF, while 8 were from Oakland and 6 were from other parts of the Bay Area. Two came from as far as Portland, OR, one from Reno, one from LA, and one of the youngest protesters came from Las Lunas, NM.
Though the oldest protester arrested was 56 and the youngest was eagerly awaiting an 18th birthday, most protesters were in their 20s, with a median age of about 24. Records also showed that men outnumbered women 29 to 6.
“Over an hour into intense public comment calling for the firing of BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger and Police Chief Gary Gee, Gabriel Meyers, 31, who had been visibly agitated and unstable throughout the meeting, hurling epithets from behind the speakers at the podium, rushed at Dugger and sprayed her with a tube of red paint….Meyers was charged with two counts of battery, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of disrupting a lawful assembly.”
Back to the present: though every protester was arrested Monday under California Vehicle code 2800(a)vc, refusal to obey a peace officer, two were also booked in a county jail for failure to provide adequate forms of identification and one was booked on a count of resisting arrest and possession of a flammable or combustible substance, a felony charge.
Originally, protests had started July 11 in response to the July 3 shooting of Charles Hill on the Civic Center BART platform. As previously reported, BART police responded to reports that Hill appeared intoxicated and was carrying an open container of alcohol. After less than a minute of confrontation, Hill was shot by BART police.
The next month on August 11, BART shut down cellphone service in several stations to thwart a rumored protest. Though the protest failed to materialize, civil liberties groups such as the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation called foul, declaring the tactic BART found so effective as illegal. Enter members of the group “Anonymous,” who called for weekly, Monday protests and hacked the BART website, as well as flooded BART offices with emails, faxes, and phone calls.
Yesterday, as previously reported, BART held a lengthy public hearing to discuss their decision to block cellphone service at several SF BART stations. Despite the relatively boisterous public outcry against the cellphone blockage, only 18 people spoke at the hearing.
And yet, protests against BART appear to be continuing: as intimate photographs of BART spokesperson Linton Johnson are circulated by set of activists, another protest is expected for next Monday, August 29th.
The protests will continue, say activists, until BART fires Johnson and police chief Kenton Rainey, apologizes for the cell phone shutdown, and reopens the investigation into Hill’s shooting.
SFPD, however, appears to have lost patience with the weekly civil actions: SFPD Chief Greg Suhr tells the Chron “enough is enough. (The protesters) made their point, and they are now losing in the court of public opinion. We don’t feel that we took appropriate action at the appropriate pace (on Monday). The next response will be quicker.”