Video surveillance footage of crimes committed on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service by minority youths is being withheld by San Francisco authorities due to their concern that the videos might perpetuate racial bias and stereotyping.
In three months time, at least three robberies have transpired at the San Francisco station by groups of teenagers. One such attack, on April 22, was committed by some 40-60 teens, reports KPXI-TV.
“I think people are genuinely concerned — they are fearful about the stories that have come out about the recent attacks, the assaults, the thefts,” explained a member of the BART board of directors, Debora Allen.
Yet, authorities are refusing to release footage of the crimes.
So, when Allen pressed for the rationale behind withholding the important evidence from the public, she was eventually told the release of the videos “would create a racial bias in the riders against minorities on the trains.”
In an email, Allen inquired: “I don’t understand what role the color of one’s skin plays in this issue [of whether to divulge information]. Can you explain?”
“If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process,” responded BART Assistant General Manager Kerry Hamill.
Hamill added that she personally feels the media’s “real interest” in the videos being released to the public is “in pursuit of ratings.”
“They know that video of these events will drive clicks to their websites and viewers to their programs because people are motivated by fear,” she wrote.
Taylor Huckaby, a spokesman for BART, suggested that since the faces of the teens who are under 18 would have to be blurred, the video would be pointless.
At least one of the suspects is 19 years of age, Allen claims.
“What is the priority of BART?” asked Allen during an appearance on KPIX-TV. “Is the safety of the passenger — of all passengers — is that a lesser priority than the race bias issue?”
H/T The Blaze