OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A BART station agent is being charged after authorities said he filed a false police report that led to an innocent man being jailed. BART claims the agent filed the report to pressure the agency in ongoing contract negotiations.
According to authorities, station agent George Figueroa told BART Police a man punched him in the chest at a pay gate two weeks ago. The man was arrested.
But according to BART, surveillance footage shows while there was a verbal argument, no punches were thrown.
“The station agent appears to have not been touched whatsoever,” BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told KPIX 5.
The transit agency said the report landed an innocent man in jail for several days. Next week, the Alameda County District Attorney is expected to file one count of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.
KPIX 5 tracked down Figueroa at his union office Friday afternoon. He had no response to the allegations against him.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents BART train operators and station agents, including Figueroa, also declined to comment directly on the accusation.
“We find that it’s reprehensible that they would something out in the public without notifying the union and alleging the union has committed some action,” Local 1555 president Antonette Bryant told KPIX 5.
Federal mediators are working with BART and its unions to hammer out a deal before the June 30th deadline. The unions have said safety is the main sticking point, saying station agents often are attacked and harassed. Recently, ATU Local 1555 used images of a naked man’s rampage at the 16th Street Mission station in a video to detail the problem.
BART said the issues are pensions, healthcare and salaries. “We want the union to stop using safety as a smokescreen. Get to the table and negotiate a fair contract,” Trost said.
More than 2,500 workers could walk off the job on July 1st if an agreement is not reached.
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