Officials from BART, the public metro system serving California’s San Francisco Bay area, have come under fire for their refusal to release crime surveillance videos, claiming such tapes will promote stereotypes and “stir up racial animosity.”
A BART official defended the agency’s decision by saying information about criminal misconduct will be withheld at this time because of the media’s “disproportionate elevation” of crimes that “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The cameras were installed in April and a string of robberies have been captured including one on April 22nd where 40-60 individuals got on the train and robbed people including the assault of others.
While the videos of that event and others are in the possession of department officials, they refuse to release them for public view. Based on department official statements, it is is assumed because the suspects are black.
The daily e-mailed reports to citizens discussing crime and suspects also ended in June.
In an email to BART’s board last week, Kerry Hamill, the assistant general manager of external affairs, warned that releasing such footage would increase racial tensions and present the agency as racially biased, reported the paper, which obtained a copy of the email.