- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The general manager of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco apologized Monday to the man who garnered a wave of support, locally and nationally, after he was detained by police for eating a sandwich on a public train platform.

Steve Foster, a 31-year-old black man who also goes by Bill Gluckman, was filmed last week being detained for eating a sandwich at the Pleasant Hill BART Station, where eating and drinking is prohibited. In the 15-minute video taken by Mr. Foster’s girlfriend, an officer repeatedly tells Mr. Foster that he broke the law and is not free to leave. In disbelief, Mr. Foster keeps eating his sandwich and arguing with the officer over the law until several other police officers eventually arrive on scene, handcuff him and lead him into a nearby office before the video cuts out.

BART later explained that Mr. Foster was “cited for eating” and detained for refusing to give his name but that he was never arrested. He could face a $250 fine or 48 hours of community service, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The now-viral incident sparked a wave of backlash across the country, prompting groups to organize several “eat-ins” at various BART locations to protest the rule.

In a statement, BART’s Bob Powers said he was “disappointed” in how the situation unfolded.

“I apologize to Mr. Foster, our riders, employees, and the public who have had an emotional reaction to the video,” he said, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“The officer was doing his job, but context is key,” he said. “Enforcement of infractions such as eating and drinking inside our paid area should not be used to prevent us from delivering on our mission to provide safe, reliable, and clean transportation. We have to read each situation and allow people to get where they are going on time and safely.”

Mr. Powers said the transit agency’s independent police auditor is now investigating the incident.

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