UPDATE: A BART board director who was Karen-ing pretty hard has deleted her Twitter after the local transit Twitterverse called for her to step down.
We mentioned yesterday afternoon that BART Director Debora Allen created some turmoil at the public Zoom meeting when decrying public comments that BART Police “murder” people. The controversy seems to have legs, and KGO reports "People on Twitter are calling for Allen to be removed from the BART board.”
UPDATE: Debora Allen has now deleted her Twitter. That said, more Debora Allen parody accounts are spreading across that platform.
If you would like to watch the incident in full, the BART board meeting online video heats up at the 24-minute mark, when public commenters begin suggesting BART could solve its budgetary woes by defunding the BART police. A 25-year BART rider suggests defunding the force because “one of those adverse effects is that BART police murder their riders,” (she did specifically mention Oscar Grant) and she further decries “BART police and their incompetence and their inability to protect their riders.”
The next few commenters agreed, one suggesting “cut your budget by defunding BART PD” while condemning what he called “double-stacked murder gates.” The next commenter called BART PD “completely useless, they’re racist.” These statements may seem over the top, but if you’ve ever sat through one of these things, this is just totally garden-variety public commenting.
at the BART board meeting, director debora allen says that it is not true that BARD PD murders people, because the definition of murder is an "unlwaful premeditated killing of one human being by another." she says she would hope to "eliminate" these statements in the future. pic.twitter.com/q8ARUhejyQ— chris arvin 💕 🌁 (@chrisarvinsf) June 11, 2020
But the remarks sure set Allen off. "'BART PD murders people?' That's not true," she said, in comments partially captured by SFGate. "The definition of murder is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. It's just simply a false statement. Statements made like this right now at a time of such turmoil and unrest really, I can only guess are just politically motivated."
To get technical about it, Oscar Grant’s killer, BART police officer Johannes Meserle, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but not second-degree murder.
part two: pic.twitter.com/wW1ofH5aAr— chris arvin 💕 🌁 (@chrisarvinsf) June 11, 2020
Allen has traditionally been vocal in her opinion that BART policies are soft on crime, but this one certainly set off a few of her co-directors. Above we see the board president Lateefah Simon giving Allen the absolute guff, saying “When I hear the dog whistles that are consistent with the political agenda that uplifts structural racism, that black men and women who succumb to unlawful use of force by law enforcement were to blame — it is unconscionable and it is racist.” She added, "I completely disavow the comments that were made earlier.”
These comments from my colleague and fellow BART Board Director Debora Allen are vicious, toxic, and racist.— Janice Li (@JaniceForBART) June 11, 2020
And as I said, her threat to silence the public is unconscionable.
I reject these comments and call on other BART board directors to do so. https://t.co/BpzJHPirOR
The calls for Allen’s resignation thus far have really just been on Twitter, and be careful on Twitter too as there is a now fake Debora Allen account (with a numeral ‘0’ instead of the letter ‘o’ in the word ‘Director’) clearly attempting to create negative publicity for her.
Related: BART Service to North San Jose Begins Saturday, Several Decades and $2.3 Billion Later [SFist]