A police officer detained and cited a man eating a sandwich on a San Francisco train platform, a confrontation captured on a viral video.
In the video posted on social media, the Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman told the man, later identified as Steve Foster, that eating on the platform is against state law. The officer keeps his hand on Foster’s backpack while Foster angrily addresses the camera and the officer.
Foster insisted he was doing nothing wrong and refused to give his name. The November 4 incident escalated and Foster was handcuffed when a second officer arrived at the train platform.
“I’m definitely upset, mad, a little frustrated, angry about it,” Foster told CNN affiliate KGO.
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said Monday that an officer issued a citation to Foster but did not arrest him. “The court will determine level of fine he should pay,” she said.
BART General Manager Bob Powers issued a statement in which he said he was disappointed how the situation unfolded and apologized to Foster, riders, employees and others who “have had an emotional reaction to the video.”
“Eating in the paid area is banned and there are multiple signs inside every station saying as much,” the statement said. “As a transportation system our concern with eating is related to the cleanliness of our stations and system. This was not the case in the incident at Pleasant Hill station on Monday. “
“The officer asked the rider not to eat while passing by on another call,” the statement continued. “It should have ended there, but it didn’t. When the officer walked by again and still saw him eating, he moved forward with the process of issuing him a citation. The individual refused to provide identification, cursed at and made homophobic slurs at the officer who remained calm through out the entire engagement.
“The officer was doing his job but context is key,” Powers said in a statement.
BART’s independent police auditor is carrying out an investigation, Powers said.
Several BART riders upset with the incident held an “eat-in” on the platform in protest.
“I hope they start focusing on stuff that actually matters like people shooting up dope, hopping the BART, people getting stabbed,” Foster told KGO.