OAKLAND (KCBS) — An overflow crowd of protesters showed up to BART’s board of directors meeting on Thursday evening to demanding an end to the prosecution of the 14 Black Friday protesters who temporarily shut down the transit service in West Oakland and may have to pay $70,000 in restitution.
By the end of the four hour-long the meeting, a BART board member said the agency may ask the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to do just that.
Pete Castelli, the executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 urged the board to act.
“I think one thing you should do is to do some self-examination at the end of the this meeting, pass a resolution that you agree that the charges should be dropped against the 14 protesters and you support free speech, the right to assemble and the principals of civil disobedience,” he said.
Later, BART Director Rebecca Saltzman said that she will introduce a resolution asking the all the charges be dropped at the next meeting.
The protest on Nov. 28, in which the 14 people were arrested, was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that has demonstrated against police brutality after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in New York City.
“We need to encourage more people to step up and speak out—not punish and deter peoples’ First Amendment rights,” Vanessa Moses, one of the Black Friday protesters who was arrested, told KCBS.
But even if Saltzman’s resolution passes, the final decision is up to District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.