BART Admits to Shutting Off Cell Phone Service to Discourage Protest

A recent protest was cut short in San Francisco as the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) inhibited cell phone service at specific stations. In a statement, the agency explained that “BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of the many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.”

Charles Hill and the Rally

The rally was originally planned in an effort to increase awareness of the recent transit police officer shootings, the latest of which ending with the death of Charles Hill, a 45 year old man shot in a confrontation with the police. The agency’s actions have gotten many complaints, and free speech advocates claim the move has infringed on people’s rights.

Protests a Danger to Employees and Commuters

BART claims the protests, which would have taken place during rush hour, could have endangered both employees and commuters. They explained they shut down the lines because protestors planned to “use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the lolcation and number of BART Police.”

They went on to say that “a civil disturbance during commuting times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators.”

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