It’s against the law to eat on Bay Area Rapid Transit, a law that apparently extends to the train platform. A BART police officer was caught on video last Monday detaining a man for eating a breakfast sandwich as he waited for his train to get to work; the video features the officer repeatedly telling the man, “You are detained and you are not free to go. You’re eating. It’s against the law.” Meanwhile, the man and his girlfriend, who was recording the video, repeatedly ask where it is posted that food is not allowed on the platform itself. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the officer, identified as D. McCormick on his uniform, was initially on the platform looking for a reportedly intoxicated woman when he spotted the man eating and grabbed his backpack, refusing to let go. The incident is now under investigation.
The incident goes on for about eight minutes before three backup officers arrive, handcuff the man because, they tell him, he’s resisting arrest, and then lead him through the station to a private room. NBC News reports he was ultimately released after identifying himself as Steve Foster of Concord, and he was issued a citation. Foster uploaded the video, as well as a second one showing the original officer talking to his girlfriend, Friday to Facebook, where it has gone viral. Foster tells ABC 7 other people on the platform were eating and drinking, but the officer targeted him. BART General Manager Bob Powers says it is indeed illegal to eat or drink in that part of the station and claims the officer had asked Foster to stop eating before he detained him, but also notes he’s “disappointed” in the way the situation unfolded and says an investigation will be done. Powers also apologized to Foster, the AP reports.