San Francisco Withholds Video of Teen Crimes to Avoid Racial Stereotyping
Transit authorities in the San Francisco area are withholding video of crimes by black teens, claiming that it would promote unfair racial stereotypes.
The videos show the youths stealing purses, wallets, and phones. Between 40 and 60 teens boarded a train on April 22 and robbed seven passengers.
"The individuals they saw on video were repeat offenders. They knew who these people were," said one of the victims, Rusty Stapp, who is suing to get the video released.
Bay Area Rapid Transit stated publicly that the footage would not be released because the offenders were juveniles.
"When it is involving juveniles as these last two incidents have occurred, the police department makes the determination that there is not a public interest in sending all that information out," said a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesperson.
However, BART Director Debora Allen discovered an internal memo cautioning against releasing the footage for fear of racial stereotyping.
"People need to be aware of what’s happening on the trains," said Allen, one of at least two BART officials who are calling out the transit system.
Releasing the footage would "unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports and a high level of racially insensitive commentary," the memo read.
Assault, robbery, and rape have risen 41 percent on BART, William La Jeunesse reported on "Happening Now."
Watch the full report above.