BART service was disrupted this week by a group of demonstrators hoping to send a message in light of the July 3rd killing of Charles Blair Hill by two BART police officers. Around 80 protesters arrived at San Francisco’s Civic Center station just before rush hour and by 5:30 p.m. the station was closed to both BART and Muni commuters.
Most of the riders affected by Monday’s demonstration headed to the nearby Powell Street station, which was soon closed due to overcrowding. But far more disturbing that the disrupted evening commute was the verbal response of the mostly white protesters to BART spokesman Linton Johnson. While addressing reporters about the incident, Johnson, who is black, was called “Uncle Tom” and a “self-conflicted blackie,” among other racial slurs, by the demonstrators, many of whom carried fliers emblazoned with photos of the late Oscar Grant III.
After marching around the platform chanting “No justice, no peace, disband the BART Police,” the protesters boarded an arriving train and held the doors open, preventing it from leaving. The train was delayed for ten minutes, during which time demonstrators clashed with BART security guards. When the train was able to leave, riot police arrived to drive the protesters out of the station. A reduced number moved to the 16th Street Mission to continue the protest. Service was disrupted, but the station reopened just after 7 p.m. BART service was back to normal by 8:30 p.m.