OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – A new KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll found many in the Bay Area want charges upheld against 14 protesters who blocked a BART train on Black Friday, causing major delays. The poll comes amid a push among the protesters and some BART officials to drop the case.
On November 28th, 14 protesters decrying the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers chained themselves to a train at the West Oakland station. The system was shut down for two and a half hours.
In our poll, 73 percent of those familiar with the case said charges should stand against the protesters. Only 23 percent said the charges should be dropped. The margin of error is plus / minus 4.7 percent.
“I think we should drop the case. Ask the DA to drop the charges,” said Rebecca Saltzman, one of two BART board members asking to drop the trespassing charges.
“I think in this case, BART overreached by asking for the $70,000 in financial restitution,” Saltzman told KPIX 5. “There was no physical damage done to the trains or to the station, this was a nonviolent protest, and I just think that was way too much to ask for.”
An exclusive KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll found 64 percent of bay area adults surveyed want the money paid back.
“I don’t condone anybody shutting down BART for any political cause, people depend on BART to get around,” Saltzman said. “I think it’s just gone too far.”
The poll also found that 87 percent of those polled think the protesters should at least do some kind of community service.
Saltzman: “That is something that the DA is able to pursue.”
Matier: “But they wouldn’t pursue it there weren’t any charges.”
Saltzman: “No they wouldn’t.”
Matier: “So this would just all go away?”
Saltzman: “Yes. They have served some jail time and they have had to go through court hearing but it would make the rest of the case go away.”
It’s something Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo said sends the wrong message. “We gotta enforce the laws and the rules,” Gallo told KPIX 5.
“I understand that position -this is just my position,” Saltzman said.