Footage of Bay Area transit cops handcuffing a commuter after stopping him for eating a sandwich has triggered outrage online.
The detained man, Bill Gluckman, posted two videos of the incident to Facebook on Friday, and they have since been viewed millions of times. According to Bay Area Rapid Transit, the incident occurred last Monday morning at Pleasant Hill Station in Walnut Creek, California.
In the footage, a BART police officer stops Gluckman and informs him that he has broken the law by eating on the train platform. The officer tries to hold on to Gluckman’s backpack, but he protests while continuing to eat his breakfast sandwich.
“You came up here and f—-ed” with me,” Gluckman says. “You single me out, out of all these people.”
The officer, whose badge says D. McCormick, responds by pointing at Gluckman’s food.
“You’re eating,” he says. “It’s against the law. It’s a violation of California law. I have the right to detain you.”
After several minutes of back-and-forth, four more BART officers arrive and handcuff Gluckman.
One of the other officers, whose badge says L. Vallejo, suggests the stop is not just about the sandwich.
‘There was a report of somebody matching your description,” he says.
BART said Friday that Gluckman was released after only being issued a citation. The agency said it was investigating the incident, as did BART police.
“No matter how you feel about eating on BART, the officer saw someone eating and asked him to stop, when he didn’t he was given a citation,” BART said in a statement.
However, Janice Li, a member of BART’s board of directors, already condemned the officers to the San Francisco Examiner, suggesting it was a racial issue.
“To see yet another young black man impacted by law enforcement like this is extremely troubling to me,” Li told the paper, referring to Gluckman, who is black. “This is a question of what we are putting our BART police towards. We know how to make the system better and safer, and this ain’t it.”
Bill Gluckman triggers social media
Liberal social media users also slammed BART, with some noting the agency has faced accusations of racism before.
“How can anyone defend this,” asked activist and cable news pundit Marc Lamont Hill.
The police stopped this man for eating a sandwich. How can anybody defend this? pic.twitter.com/98neUGB1vi
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) November 10, 2019
“We really need to address the overpolicing of people of color in this country,” said MSNBC host Joy Reid.
We really need to address the overpolicing of people of color in this country. Seriously. https://t.co/9PHtDgbpgi
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 10, 2019
Meanwhile, some conservatives, including Federalist contributor Chad Felix Greene, joined the criticism of BART police from a libertarian perspective.
Probably the people who think its the role of the government to determine how much soda you can drink or the material your straw is made of. 🤷♂️ https://t.co/srlcHnnDkS
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) November 10, 2019
However, others pushed back on the left for assuming the incident was about race.
Of course liberals are making this about race (as usual). Instead of California having increasingly insane laws (like banning straws). It is ground zero of Idiocracy. pic.twitter.com/4Orh7rY9Qu
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) November 11, 2019
On Saturday, dozens of BART riders held an illegal “eat-in” at the Embarcardero station in San Francisco to show solidarity with Gluckman.
“My first political awakening was back at a lunch counter in the ’60s,” a protestor from Oakland told ABC 7. “Now, we’re back to ‘eat-ins.”