[…] Cell phone service was temporarily suspended in several Bay Area Rapid Transit stations to prevent protesters from communicating with each other, according to BART police Lt. Andy Alkire.
Word that members of “No Justice No BART” would be protesting the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer reached BART’s media relations department, which asked wireless providers to shut off service at four downtown San Francisco stations to prevent “disruptive activities.” A similar protest on July 11th delayed trains for hours during the evening commute.
“Paid areas of BART stations are reserved for ticketed passengers who are boarding, exiting or waiting for BART cars and trains, or for authorized BART personnel,” BART said in a statement explaining their actions. “No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.”
Alkire called the service disruption “a great tool to utilize for this specific purpose.”
Charles Hill, a heavily intoxicated 45-year-old transient, was shot and killed by a BART police officer who claimed Hill was threatening him with knives. According to witness testimony, Hill was not running or lunging as the two officers who intercepted him reported.
You hear in other countries - countries that you think of less democratic than the Westernized World - how during protest and demonstrations and riots, the oppressive governments react by killing internet connections and cell phone service - nothing comes in, nothing goes out. Movements die. Nothing changes. Then you read a story like this… and realize… we’re the same, at least in all the ways that really matter when people need to fight back.