top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Fri Oct 7 2011 (Updated 10/09/11)
Letter to BART Board on Police Mistreatment of Journalists
Society of Professional Journalists Committee Scolds BART for Actions at Sept. 8th Protest
Dear Directors:

The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee condemns the wrongful treatment of journalists by BART police during the September 8, 2011 protest at Powell Station. The Committee requests acknowledgment of BART police’s error, assurances that such actions will never be taken again, and new training for officers to ensure that their interactions with the press remain appropriate and lawful.

The actions of BART police on September 8 are both serious and numerous and should be addressed by the Board.

Most disturbing are the allegations of David Morse, a veteran Indybay.org reporter who goes by the nom de plume “Dave Id.” Mr. Morse alleges that as he was newsgathering, BART Deputy Police Chief Dan Hartwig singled him out for immediate arrest by pointing in his direction and saying, “him.”

Mr. Morse was the first of several people to be arrested in such a manner that night. He believes that he was singled out because of numerous articles critical of BART police that he has published since the January 1, 2009 killing of Oscar Grant. Mr. Morse has reported that Deputy Chief Hartwig knows that he is a journalist, and he also notes that upon being isolated from the main group of detainees he was asked by another officer whether he was “Dave Id.” If Mr. Morse is correct that he was targeted for arrest based on articles critical of BART police, such action would constitute a grave violation of the First Amendment.

Additionally, BART police unnecessarily detained reporters regardless of whether they displayed police or non-police press credentials. In certain cases, BART police refused to release journalists even after being informed that they were present to document the protest on behalf of media outlets. For example, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vivian Ho was placed in handcuffs after officers were made aware that she was present at the demonstration solely in her capacity as a journalist.

After roughly 30 minutes, BART police made the decision to release journalists who possessed San Francisco Police Department credentials. However, these journalists were not allowed to remain on the scene. And, in a highly unusual move, BART police directed SFPD officers to confiscate these journalists’ credentials, an unnecessary and seemingly punitive action that SFPD media relations director Troy Dangerfield later described as an error that violated SFPD protocol.

Read More | Indybay Journalist Arrested at #NoFare BART Protest in Powell Street Station | League of Pissed Off Voters with #NoFare Protest Arrestee Dave Id of Indybay & Rebecca Bowe of SFBG | A Talk Show With Arrested Protesters From The NoFare Protest At Powell BART Station

See Also: audio photo BART Police Oversight Pushed Along in Assembly Committee on Public Safety Hearing, 9/27/11 | audio photo BART Board Meeting Police-Related Matters - No Mobile Phone Policy, Indybay Arrest, 9/22/11

Previous Related Indybay Feature: No Justice No BART and Allies Call for "Spare the Fare" Protest in Powell Street BART
04/25/18 Years of Community Pressure Lead to Victory Over Urban Shield Military Cop Convention Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | East Bay | California | U.S. | Government & Elections | Immigrant Rights04/21/18 750 Public Interest Groups Urge Halt to New Oil and Gas Projects in California Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing & Public Services | California04/21/18 Two NorCal Cities Take Lead in Regulating Spying and Surveillance Equipment Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Central Valley | East Bay | Government & Elections04/19/18 Prisoners United of Silicon Valley Demand Human Treatment in County Jails Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | South Bay04/19/18 CodePink Protests Syrian Bombings at San Francisco Homes of Feinstein and Pelosi Front Page | Anti-War | San Francisco | East Bay | U.S. | International04/16/18 March for Science Rally and Street Fair Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | East Bay04/08/18 Protesters on Facebook Campus Say Zuckerberg Is the Bad Actor Front Page | Media Activism & Independent Media | Peninsula | Government & Elections04/07/18 Democratic Delegation Visits Israel on 70th Anniversary of the Nakba Front Page | Anti-War | Government & Elections | Palestine | Santa Cruz Indymedia04/04/18 17 Killed by Israeli Soldiers During Land Day Protest in Gaza, Over 1,400 Wounded Front Page | Anti-War | U.S. | International | Palestine04/04/18 Bay Area Queers Spread Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi’s Image Far and Wide LGBTI / Queer | Womyn | Arts + Action | San Francisco | East Bay | International | Palestine04/04/18 Pueblo Sin Fronteras Denounces Calls for Violence Against the Refugee Caravan Front Page | U.S. | International | Americas | Immigrant Rights
Related Categories: San Francisco | Media Activism & Independent Media | Police State & Prisons | Front Page