Steve Foster, an African American man from Concord, California was detained and put in handcuffs because he was “illegally” eating a sandwich on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train platform. He is now planning to sue the transit agency.
Steve, who goes by the name of Bill Gluckman on Facebook, posted a video of the incident filmed by his girlfriend. In the video, BART police officer D. McCormick can be seen holding onto his bag and not letting him go before calling for backup. The officer said he was arrested for resisting arrest.
Foster’s girlfriend can be heard asking the officer why he was arrested if the signs say food is prohibited on the BART trains, not the platform. But the officer claimed that food was not allowed on all BART property and that includes the platform.
When backup officers arrived, Foster was handcuffed and escorted off of the platform.
Foster said that he was very frustrated by the “childish” incident. He told KTVU, “I’ve never had anything like that happen to me before. I’ve definitely had run-ins with the police before, but that was by far the pettiest.”
Foster said that it was not the first time he ate while on a BART platform as he regularly eats his breakfast there while waiting to ride the train going to his work in San Francisco.
Moreover, the officer said he was actually searching for a drunk woman when he spotted Foster eating and stopped him instead.
Foster said he wanted McCormick to be disciplined. He said, “I think he really needs to know that he can’t approach people the way he did or talk to people the way he did just because he has a badge. I think I was singled out because I was black, to be honest.”
Meanwhile, BART said that it was investigating the incident and clarified that Foster was not arrested but given a citation.
“No matter how you feel about eating on BART, the officer saw someone eating and asked him to stop, when he didn’t he was given a citation,” it said.
Foster is facing a $250 fine and 48 hours of community service, but he is planning to fight the citation and file a lawsuit.