BART Passenger Sues Police for Alleged Beating Over Ringtone
A BART passenger is suing the transit agency and several of its officers, accusing them of beating and arresting him after he said he complied with a police order to stop listening to a musical ringtone on his phone.
Bart in trouble again!
You have to wonder -- how annoying was that ringtone?
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco court on Monday by attorney John L. Burris, claims that Jason Wong was at the West Oakland BART station on June 9, 2010, when a female BART officer identified only as W. Sanchez asked him to turn the volume down on his phone -- and then asked him to completely turn the sound off.
Wong says that although he obeyed both requests, Sanchez again approached him after he exited the station and beat him with her baton, according to the lawsuit.
At that point, Wong tried to flee the scene, "but was ultimately detained and/or arrested at gunpoint a short time later."
At least 10 more officers are also being sued for participating in the incident, according to the claim.
The lawsuit further alleges that the officers were motivated by racial prejudice. Wong is "readily recognizable as Asian American," but the races of the officers were unspecified.
Wong is seeking damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
Burris's office was unavailable for comment. SF Weekly also called BART spokesman Linton Johnson, who said he was not prepared to respond at the time.
BART police are already in the spotlight after the July 3 shooting of Charles Hill, a transient who appeared to be wobbling around the Civic Center station drunk. Police say he was armed with knives and used a bottle as a weapon. They shot and killed him on the train platform.