Racial disparities found in recent BART police enforcement report, official says

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Friday, February 21, 2020
Racial disparities found in recent BART police enforcement report, official says
BART Police Department releases report on quality of life issues on the transit system which includes, public intoxication, smoking on BART, fare evasions and more.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bart estimates it makes 129 million trips a year, and with more people riding this system the need for improvements is top of mind for many of these Bart riders.

"Like a screen that says which one is the upcoming station," said BART rider, Niko Ryder.

RELATED: BART looking for ways to rebuild declining ridership after losing 10 million riders on night, weekends

BART rider, Terell O'Neall says he's experienced discrimination in the system.

"Sometimes from Bart security, they'll profile me and put me under a certain category," said Ryder.

In January of 2019, BART of Directors, Janice Li requested demographic data on 'Quality of Life' citations and contacts.

Li says they found a racial disparity in the data.

"Why are we seeing 50% of these citations and arrest why are they received by folks who are black when we know that's not the population riding our system?," said Li.

During 2018 to 2019 an average of 40 citations were issued for 'Code of Conduct' per month. Those citations include eating, smoking and public intoxication.

50% of the citations were issued to black people, 24% to white people, and 18% to Latinos.

RELATED: BART riders could pay more for parking as transit agency tries to add housing, retail to transit hubs

"We provide training to our officers they do bias-based policing training. Every two years, they get in the police academy and we give it to them when they first come into the department," said, BART Police Chief, Ed Alvarez.

Chief Alvarez says he is examining these findings and his officers' training prioritizes racial equity and added, "As of today we have not had any found violations through our independent police auditor," said Alvarez.

The data will be presented on Feb. 27, BART Board of Directors meeting.

Click here for the complete data.

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