Statement from BART General Manager regarding West Oakland protesters
BART General Manager Grace Crunican issued the following statement regarding the protesters who stopped the BART system the day after Thanksgiving:
"As BART's General Manager, I must ensure safe public access to the BART system. The protesters who stopped the BART system on the day after Thanksgiving shut down four of five transit lines, and for three hours interfered with the movement of every train running through the Transbay Tube and the entire BART system.
It is also my responsibility to maintain a close and cooperative relationship with all elements of the community. It is critical that the post -Thanksgiving BART shutdown be handled in a manner that is fair and equitable to all stakeholders.
Recently, the BART Police Chief and I have been in conversation with Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley about the pending criminal charges against the 14 protesters. We discussed my interest in community service as an element of restitution and the possibility of Restorative Justice Programs being factored into the legal proceedings. DA O'Malley indicated that her office has a robust Restorative Justice Program. She also indicated that most of the individuals charged with the misdemeanor crime of blocking the railways have not yet appeared in court, so any discussion of a resolution to the case is premature. Furthermore, she indicated that her office is responsible for conducting independent and unbiased evaluations based upon all the evidence presented.
There have been reports in the press about BART seeking restitution. Restitution is every crime victim’s right under the California Constitution. In other situations involving property damage or where substantial harm has been caused to the BART System, the BART Police Department has participated in the restitution process. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office leads the state in seeking restitution for crime victims. The DA indicated that her office is guided by California Law on issues regarding restitution, and she made it clear that the handling of restitution is within her purview and premature to discuss at this time.
The consequences of the actions taken at the West Oakland Station were far more serious than those of the recent protests across the Bay Area. BART continued to operate service during the other protests. Trains continued to run through the Transbay Tube and throughout the system. BART riders and employees were not placed in jeopardy. The West Oakland protesters created a danger to themselves and threatened the safety of those traveling throughout the system.
Free Speech is practiced in and around our BART stations on a daily basis. I look forward to continuing the constructive discourse that is at the center of our lives here in the Bay Area."