BART's top official issued a public apology Monday to a man handcuffed last week after a transit agency police officer confronted him for eating a sandwich on a station platform — an apology the agency was later forced to modify and one which the detained man is criticizing as an attempt to blame the incident on him.
BART General Manager Bob Powers said in a written statement that although eating in BART's paid areas is banned, he was "disappointed" in how the encounter between Officer D. McCormick and passenger Steve Foster unfolded.
"The officer was doing his job but context is key," Powers' statement said. "Enforcement of infractions such as eating and drinking inside our paid area should not be used to prevent us from delivering on our mission to provide safe, reliable, and clean transportation. We have to read each situation and allow people to get where they are going on time and safely. ... I apologize to Mr. Foster, our riders, employees, and the public who have had an emotional reaction to the video."
Powers' apology initially said that McCormick asked Foster to stop eating "while passing by on another call. It should have ended there, but it didn’t. When the officer walked by again and still saw him eating, he moved forward with the process of issuing him a citation."