BART police have been scrutinized before for police brutality. Remember Oscar Grant?
We live in a time when footage of police officers abusing their authority and using excessive force to terrorize citizens finds its way online almost every single day.
This past weekend was no exception.
On Sunday, in San Francisco, California, a video leaked of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, the region’s light-rail system) police apprehending a 22-year-old alleged robbery suspect. As with all of the previous encounters that we’ve covered here between police officers and communities of color, BART police went too far.
According to ABC News, one witness, Pamela Martinez, described the incident as “brutal” and said “my knees were shaking” during the whole ordeal.
“One of the policemen had his knee on the kid’s back,” Martinez told ABC. “And it looked like he was going to break it. And one guy next to them yelled, ‘Please just get your knee off the kid’s back, you’re going to break it.'”
Though BART officials claimed the suspect was armed, no gun was found.
This isn’t the first time BART police have come under intense scrutiny due to accusations of police brutality.
On New Years’ Day in 2009, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station. The incident led to a mass protest in downtown Oakland. It even led to a feature-length film.
Not only does police brutality continue to ramp up. But, more and more, the racist sentiments that undergird such abuse of state force are bubbling to the surface of society.
In Brooklyn, New York, for example, a white man on a New York subway train got into a verbal altercation with a black woman over a seat.
As it turns out, the man is a supporter of Donald Trump. Among other vile statements, the enraged man blurted, “Put them back in the f-king field where they belong!”
Trump did not invent racism and police brutality. But, it cannot be denied that his candidacy is fanning the flames.
Two weeks ago, the man who has promised to “make America great again” effectively said he would turn America into a police state under the pretext of returning “law and order” to America’s streets.
What we’re seeing now is a dress rehearsal of what’s to come, should he win.