The videos show the youths stealing purses, wallets, and phones. Between 40 and 60 teens boarded a train on April 22 and robbed seven passengers.
“The individuals they saw on video were repeat offenders. They knew who these people were,” said witness Rusty Stapp, who is suing to get the video released.
“When it is involving juveniles as these last two incidents have occurred, the police department make the determination that there is not a public interest in sending all that information out,” said a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesperson.
However, BART Director Debora Allen discovered an internal memo cautioning against releasing the footage for fear of racial stereotyping. “People need to be aware of what’s happening on the trains,” said Allen, one of at least two BART officials who are calling out the transit system.
Releasing the footage would “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports and a high level of racially insensitive commentary,” the memo read.
Assault, robbery, and rape have risen 41 percent on BART, William La Jeunesse reported on “Happening Now.”