OAKLAND (KCBS) — Fourteen #BlackLivesMatter protesters, who shut down the West Oakland BART train on Black Friday last year, said the transit agency is trying to make them pay restitution along with being charged with other criminal complaints.
Arrested Black Friday Protesters Say BART Wants $70,000 In Restitution For Shutdown; Call It 'Ransom'
On Nov. 28, protesters chained themselves from BART trains, traveling in both directions, to the platforms at the West Oakland BART station disrupting the service through the Transbay tube for several hours and angering many commuters like Aquis Bryant.
"If you're really about that life, go take it out on the police officer that killed Mike Brown. Don't inconvenience my life. I mean you got me ready to protest against the protesters, man," Bryant told KCBS.
The protesters, who were expressing opposition to the police killing of African Americans—including Michael Brown in Ferguson, were arrested for interfering with a railroad operation and trespassing.
Cat Brooks, an Oakland resident and co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, was one those arrested.
"The BART board is pressuring the district attorney to press charges, whereas you see a lot of other protesters are being released and just told to go home but this all black organized action, we are being charged and they want restitution and the number that we are hearing is $70,000," Brooks said.
On Thursday, Brooks told the crowd gathered for the sixth anniversary of the shooting death of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer that she will fight what she calls a "ransom."
"You will get not one dime from any of us," she said. "You will have send my black behind to jail."
Brooks said she is fighting the charges and the financial penalty and has started a petition for BART to reconsider.
A BART spokesman told KCBS that the Board of Directors does not have the power to influence the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
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