SAN FRANCISCO – Political correctness is apparently running amok on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, which serves San Francisco, Oakland, and the East Bay. They are under fire for refusing to release video from surveillance cameras that captured several recent train attacks by gangs of young black riders, reported Fox News.
According to the report, “crimes against persons,” such as assault, robbery and rape are up 41 percent over last year on the vast train system. But several recent attacks by gangs of young men has the agency under public scrutiny. Moreover, one victim is suing to warn riders of the risk they face when riding BART.
“Approximately 30 of them invaded our car. They beat and robbed a number of individuals,” said Rusty Stapp, who was returning home with his wife and 19-year-old daughter. “They jumped on me, and began kicking me in the ribs. The individuals (police) saw on video were repeat offenders. They knew who they were. They had them in the system.”
Yet BART refused to release the video, claiming several of the alleged gang members might be under 18. And people are furious.
“Especially when (a crime) is involving juveniles as these last two incidents have, the police department makes the determination that there is not a public interest in sending all that information out,” said BART spokesman Taylor Huckaby. Although some local police combating these problems are in disagreement with the passive approach.
Furthermore, Debora Allen, one of nine BART directors, said the agency is concealing the real reason. According to her, the agency is putting political correctness over public safety.
“They want to withhold the video release for fear of creating racial stereotyping,” Allen told Fox last week.
She made reference to an internal memo to BART directors, dated July 7, 2017. In the memo, the agency said it would not issue a press release on a similar mob attack in June because it would “paint an inaccurate picture of the BART system as crime ridden.”
So apparently burying your head in the sand is an acceptable approach to real crime? Does that mean the philosophy is to ignore it and hope it goes away?
Furthermore, the memo read, it will “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports and a high level of racially insensitive commentary.”
How do these people get into positions of power?
Allen questioned BART Assistant General Manager Kerry Hamill about that explanation, saying “I don’t understand what role the color of one’s skin plays in this issue. Can you explain?”
Hamill claimed they (media) are simply looking to sensationalize the story. Their interest is limited to “ratings” and “clicks.”
“If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process,” Hamill said.
First, minor crimes include petty theft, not felony assault, and certainly not rape. Second, public distribution of these crimes help investigators solve them, and if public shaming is a consequence, then so be it. Third, apparently releasing facts is “perpetuating false stereotypes.” Now there’s an indictment on our state of affairs.
Allen told Fox she was disappointed to read the memo.
“Race should play no role,” she said. “With respect to the video, I think it is important for the riding public to see some of the ways people steal and assault people on the trains.”
Stapp appeared last week before the BART board to complain.
“I think if you were truly committed to (public safety) there would be a lot more interaction with the public, like making the video available of these incidents,” Stapp said.
Stapp filed a lawsuit against BART seeking $3 million for gross negligence. “It’s the closest I’ve ever been to feeling like I might die,” he told Fox News.
Paul Justi, Stapp’s attorney, said BART should release the surveillance videos. Others on the board said there is a fine line between privacy and protecting the public.
“We have a lot of videos in this district” admitted Board Director Joel Keller. “There is this balance between privacy and openness.”
While Keller refers to a fine line between “privacy and protecting the public.” It appears to be more consistent with public relations and political correctness.
A decision on releasing crime video is expected next month.
(Photo courtesy Eric Fischer)