PLEASANT HILL (KRON) — A man was handcuffed and cited by police at the Pleasant Hill BART station this week for eating a sandwich on the platform, which is a violation of state law, the agency said.
Video of the incident shows the man with his sandwich in hand on the platform Monday morning and the BART police officer holding onto the man’s backpack, trying to detain him.
The incident happened Monday around 8 a.m. as the man was heading to work.
“You are detained and not free to go,” the officer can be heard saying on the video. “You’re eating — it’s against the law.”
The officer goes on to say that eating on the BART platform is a violation of California law and that the man is going to jail.
“I was feeling upset. I kind of feel like I was singled out. I honestly feel like I was singled out because of my skin color,” the man, Steve Foster, told KRON4.
The officer then calls for backup, saying the man was being uncooperative.
Later in the video, the officer asks for the man’s name, which he refused to provide, saying he did nothing wrong.
Three other officers then show up, handcuff the man and escort him off the platform.
Foster says he knew he wasn’t allowed to eat on the train, but had no idea he couldn’t eat on the platform.
He says he wasn’t the only one on Monday morning eating and the officer singled him out.
In a statement to KRON4 on Friday, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said the man was uncooperative with the officer and confirmed eating on BART is not allowed by law, specifically Penal Code 640 (b)(1).
“No matter how you feel about eating on BART, the officer saw someone eating and asked him to stop, when he didn’t, he was given a citation,” she said. “The individual was not cooperative and was not providing his identification which is needed for a citation and is why the engagement lasted as long as it did.”
Trost said the man was handcuffed for not telling the officer his name.
“He was lawfully placed in handcuffs for refusing multiple times to provide his name which is the part of the video you are referencing,” she said.
The video of the ordeal has now been sent to an independent police auditor who will be reviewing what happened.
In a second video, the officer who detained the man explained that he was originally called to the platform in regards to a woman who was intoxicated.
The officer said he never found the woman and while on the platform he saw the man in question and told him that eating is not allowed on BART.
The video of the incident has now been shared hundreds of times on social media.
“There’s so much other stuff to be worried about than stuff like that. It doesn’t make sense,” Foster said.
Foster says he hopes BART officers learn from this — and spend more of their time taking care of more pressing issues.
“Pick and choose your battles. Don’t walk past somebody that is supposedly drunk or shooting up dope or urinating on a platform. And then come mess with a guy eating a sandwich you should determine what’s more important,” Foster said.