(Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

(Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

BART board unlikely to call for charges dropped against Black Friday 14

Following more than two hours of public comment Thursday in support of a group of protesters known as the Black Friday 14 at the BART Board of Directors meeting, board members signaled it is unlikely they will call for charges to be dropped against the group.

BART board director Tom Radulovich told the San Francisco Examiner there’s a “slim chance” his colleagues would agree to adopt a resolution to ask the Alameda District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley, to drop the charges. The board previously voted to ask that the $70,000 restitution be dropped but not the charges.

Director Rebecca Saltzman told the Examiner her resolution in February for the board to ask the DA to drop charges did not have majority support, and “I don’t think board opinions have changed.”

The Black Friday 14 chained themselves to a BART train in November 2014 at the West Oakland station, delaying the transit system in support of black lives nationally. BART was targeted due to its economic importance to the region and the 2009 death of unarmed black man Oscar Grant at the hands of BART police.

The 14 protesters, including Alicia Garza, co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, face misdemeanor charges from O’Malley.

BART board director John McPartland said asking for the charges dropped would potentially make “safety jeopardized for the public across this nation. It’s a cascading effect.”

More than 60 protesters packed the meeting. East Bay faith leaders, activists, labor groups and social justice groups spoke.

“I wish I was one of the Black Friday 14, they lifted up my freedom,” said Oakland native Vanessa Riles, who is black.

Above, Black Friday 14 protester Mollie Costello talks about the BART board.

Jane Martin, representing the SEIU United Service Workers West, said, “Nancy O’Malley will not be elected again with our support if she does not drop the charges.”

Black Friday 14 member Mollie Costello has spent time in Santa Rita prison for another activist action, and told the San Francisco Examiner she was illegally strip-searched and subject to solitary confinement, the subject of a current lawsuit. If convicted on the charges, she said, “I have deep fear of going back there.”

BARTBlack Friday 14Black Lives MatterdelaysOscar GrantTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Most Read