Phil Matier: Planned Protest At BART Station Fails To Materialize

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A planned protest at the Bay Area Rapid Transit Service’s Civic Center station over the shooting of a man last month failed to materialize during Thursday afternoon’s commute.

But the agency said that riders should be vigilant in coming weeks while the threat of protests lingers.

“Today we heard rumors there might be protests, and there might be protests tomorrow,” agency spokesman Linton Johnson said at a media briefing tonight inside the Powell Street station. “We don’t know.”

BART had put a warning on its website Thursday for passengers to be “advised that protesters may attempt to disrupt train service during August commute periods beginning as early as Thursday, August 11, 2011, in downtown San Francisco BART stations.”

On July 11, protesters disrupted rush-hour commutes in response to the killing of Charles Hill by BART police a week earlier. BART police arrested a number of protesters that night and temporarily closed San Francisco’s Civic Center BART station, among others.

On Thursday afternoon, BART police were standing, with about a dozen officers in riot gear and a dozen safety officers in green vests present on the train platform at Civic Center Station, where protesters were expected to gather around 4:30 p.m.

Lt. Andy Alkire said that no arrests were made Thursday and that it helped to have a uniformed police presence.

“I don’t believe it was a hoax,” Alkire said. “We had pretty good intelligence that it was going to happen.”

As an added precaution, the agency shut off cellphone service on the station’s platform. While Alkire said the tactic was an unusual measure, he said it was “a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose” given that the agency was expecting a potentially volatile situation.

“This group seems to want to challenge BART, challenge the police department,” Alkire said.

BART was not the only transit agency that took precautions Thursday afternoon. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency also announced that it had shut down regular cable car service on the Powell Street portion of the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines at 3:30 p.m.

Shuttle buses provided service along the route until normal Muni service resumed at 6:30 p.m.

Johnson encourages BART passengers to remain aware of their surroundings as they commute over the next month.

“Report unsafe behavior, do not confront protesters,” Johnson said. “Stay out of harm’s way.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said BART and transit officials as well as law enforcement regularly monitor sites where they know there’s activity about disturbances or possible disturbances.

“And they came across a Website that pretty well spelled out what was supposed to be an action today, and I think they found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place,” said Matier.

Matier added that at that point BART officials played it safe, took action and let the public know.

Although there were no demonstrations, he said that in a sense, the protesters got their way.

“They’re certainly getting the attention again,” said Matier.

BART Passengers can report suspicious or unsafe behavior by calling (510) 464-7000 or by locating an intercom.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Phil Matier
  • Jim Kelly

    the police officer was first cut with a knife
    you would think the justice had been served

    why do people protect criminals and latter
    on someone gets shot and killed in Oakland
    by the same crooks everyday
    and no one says nothing out of fear

  • protesters are gay

    Ha,Ha. As usual, the cowardly protesters ran away when the police showed up. The BART Police and SFPD are great and are doing a great job. grant and hill got what they deserved.

  • Pat

    Here is what needs to happen to these thugs and punks who rant about rights and BS yet have no accountability for their individual actions. They disrupt other people trying to get home from their daily work and literally hold captive ordinary people who want nothing of their anti social behavior.The Police should use riot batons, water cannons and plastic bullets to put these criminals in check. If any of these riotors are actual illegal immigrants, they need to be immediately arrested and deported out of the United States.

    • Anthony

      These arent thugs and punks, theyre regular citizens trying to make theyre voices heard and standing up for theyre right and totally support them. People are seriously fed up with the system and where its going. You all must be blind and mislead if you think they are menace to society. You all are the cowards who talk protesters down

  • ani

    I don’t like protesters. I hope they will deserve hell as a heavy price to pay for all the media garbage they are promoting. Cowardly protesters are just a menace to society and their act of disobedience will not be tolerated. I would like it when Uncle Sam makes protesting an illegal activity worthy of a lengthy jail sentence. Protesting is as counterproductive since it can contribute to a full scale riot similar to the one in London. I think there should be a law against all form of protests because a single protest can lead to a violent confrontation with the police who are trying to control the disturbance before it becomes completely unmanageable.

    • Scott

      Wow. Just…wow.
      I present to you the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Of course, Americans don’t seem to place much importance on their Constitution and its Bill of Rights anymore.

      • Plonk

        Please see our Second Amendment and know that if these dirty hippies get in my way or out of pocket, I’ll exercise my right to use it.

  • asdf

    Yeah, I guess the animals are back. What’s the difference here compared with London? Same kind, same acts. Nothing contributing to society.

  • jam

    Why is there a protest again?? Is it because some people are in need of new sneakers and other goods??

  • Citizens

    These protesters are just troublemakers. They use the race card and are idiots who have no job and education and no future. They do not contribute to society. Just find a reason to cause trouble in society. Its all about them. They do not care about anyone else but themselves. They want to cause trouble by using protest as a cover up. The news also is bias. They say people are protesting when its only like less than 50 out of the who city who is protesting. Their voice is a very very minority of the community of San Francisco. I also do not understand when there is crime in other cities like Oakland, they protest in San Francisco. Its a waste of San Francisco Tax payer dollars. The police or law enforcements majority of city support. These unemployed idiots just want to cause trouble and always use the race card and injustice of system as excuse to cause trouble. As said they use race card and complain complain. We see it in the news everyday. Its an injustice for society to have all these social service in the city for these trouble makers. This is the reason why the city and country has to borrow money from other countries. Move them all to the east bay.

  • qit


  • Marcus

    Why does the lame media (YES, YOU CBS) give protestors attention? Just ignore them. They should never be on TV. They are IGNORANT and really have no life so they are criminials that make trouble.

  • jk

    salute to all of the above comments, we normal, everyday work for family citizens should not tolerate any more of those counterproductive, barbarian liked protesters who called themselves human right activists.

    • LS

      But cops with no accountability for their actions when they kill children that do nothing wrong is just fine?

      Are you serious? You’re a tool.

  • Joe Mama

    Nice job, whoever the one person posting those 10 comments above is. Kinda obvious though…

    • Libs worst nightmare

      Joe, I can say that there are at least 2 of us posting the “10 comments. I agree with the others 100%. Let the Loser protestors do their thing on their time. Don’t inconvenience the thousands of working folks who want to go home to their families. The BART police do an awesome job dealing with A-holes every day. I salute them and support them.

      • Bay Area Guy

        I follow the news everyday and I still have no idea what they are protesting?
        Looks like they are just looking for media attention. Waste of everyones time.
        They can protest on the streets, stay away from the rest of us who on our way to or from work.

  • Eric Jaffa

    People have a right to use their phones.

    Regardless of whether BART employees heard rumors of a protest.

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  • Raul Delarosa

    What protestors? What is the source of their rumor there was to be a protest. This article raises questions. Thanks for writing it. Looks like a test run on their new strategy to me. Wow- so much for streaming video of BART cops shooting people. Hold on to your footage folks! They’ll be taking yo-ur cameras. And how much did the State Department pay you anonymous commenters to post the above? Oy! Get socially responsible. “barbarian liked protesters who called themselves human rights activists” (who stand against police assassinations). Posted by JK above… maybe he was just kidding lol I don’t know.

  • kelly

    Thanks Phil for actually reporting this!!! I can’t believe that of all places, SF is resorting to police state tactics.

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  • yougottabekiddingme

    Has anyone considered that ‘shutting down cell service’ in the area of a protest is a great way to get people *killed* when violence breaks out and they can’t phone for help?

    Way to go, BART & cops. That’s a dumb-ass ‘strategy’ for crowd control.

    • LS

      Uhm, if the cops are already at the station, who exactly are they expecting to call for emergency services anyway?

  • anonymous

    you dont think they shut off the cell phone service so that people could not record the ass beating the cops get away with and post it on the net before the cops could take and delete the footage, sounds like a good reason to block cell phone service to me, if I was a crooked cop anyway.

  • Tours Martel

    The best way to discourage these young anarchists is a few deep bruises. Not being very durable, they whine and moan plenty, but have no fortitude for anything serious. No need for anything more than that, as that would make martyrs out of them.

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