BART commute service disrupted by protests over fatal shooting 

Evening commuters in San Francisco on BART and Muni were disrupted Monday evening due to protests about a recent fatal shooting of a man on a transit station platform.

As of 7:15 p.m., the Powell Street station was closed to passengers who wanted to board trains. Passengers could still leave the station.

San Francisco Municipal Railway service was still suspended at Civic Center station, where close to 100 protesters gathered before the start of Monday evening's commute for a demonstration.

In response to the protest BART temporarily suspended service at that station. Muni service was also stopped at the station. Powell and 16th Street stations were reportedly closed as protesters moved the demonstration elsewhere.

As of 6:35 p.m., the 16th Street BART station was closed, while at Civic Center station BART was once again allowing customers to disembark. Passengers were still not being allowed to board trains there.

Last week, BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man at Civic Center, and the group No Justice, No BART said it is demanding that the BART Police Department be disbanded.

The group is also demanding that both of the two officers involved in the July 3 shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill be fired and criminally charged if it is found that the shooting was not justified.

BART police in riot gear monitored the situation at the protest, which began at 4:30 p.m., and had non-lethal weapons ready.

By 5:15 p.m. the crowd had thickened and began chanting "No justice, no peace, disband the BART police" and "Cops, pigs, murderers."

Once one East Bay-bound train inched into the station, some protesters boarded the train and began banging on the train's windows. After about 10 minutes, safety officers and police were able to close the train's doors and the train departed the station.

Shortly afterward, at about 5:20 p.m., the station's LED message boards displayed messages informing passengers that no trains would be stopping at Civic Center station.

By 5:30 p.m., Muni announced that its service had also been suspended at the station.

By 6 p.m., some of the group had moved to Powell Street station where they were chanting and screaming on the BART platform. At some point before then, the platform had temporarily been closed because of overcrowding
related to the influx of passengers displaced from Civic Center station.

It appeared that all of the protesters boarded a Daly City-bound train at 6:17 p.m. Although some of them attempted to block the doors and prevent the train from leaving the station, the train departed a few minutes later.

Earlier today BART spokesman Linton Johnson said such a protest would be illegal.

"Disruptive protests like this planned on small platforms with fast-moving trains and large crowds are against the law because they put ... riders, BART workers, journalists and protesters at serious risk of injury or death," he said.

After the disruptions, Johnson criticized the demonstrators' actions.

"These fringe groups have apparently shown no regard for the work of their fellow citizens and, of course, the customers on the train, the elderly -- all those folks who need Civic Center station open and rely on the station," he said.

Johnson said that the station was closed "to maintain safety at an inconvenience to the elderly, the disabled" and all other customers because of the demonstrators' actions.

Johnson said that BART police had not made any arrests as of 6 p.m.

Hill was wielding a knife and a broken alcohol bottle before BART police shot him on the train platform, Johnson said.

BART police said Hill was aggressive and combative and did not comply with orders. One of the officers suffered minor cuts during the confrontation, BART officials said.

A Facebook page has been set up for Monday afternoon's rally, and as of Monday morning, more than 370 people had indicated they would attend.

No Justice, No BART was formed in response to the New Year's Day 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III. Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward resident who was unarmed, was shot and killed by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.

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