BART Response to Protests Enrages Hacktivist Group Anonymous

San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has ignited protests since a fatal shooting, but also attacks from Anonymous, the group devoted to punishing organizations that invade civil rights. Although the outrage stemmed from the death of Charles Blair Hill and a previous wrongful death by the BART police, the issue has now turned to civil rights being invaded by the BART staff.

Here is a look back at what sparked the involvement of Anonymous:

* After receiving complaints July 3, BART police responded to a report of a “wobbly drunk” which led them to 45-year-old Charles Hill on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform, according to CBS San Francisco.

* When police arrived, Hill reportedly threw a bottle of vodka in the direction of the responding officer. Then the officer saw a knife in the possession Hill, so he fired shots in response to the immediate danger.

* After the first shot was fired, Hill threw his knife at the officer. The officer continued to shoot two more times until the suspect died. The time lapse between the officers’ confrontation with Hill and his death was only 25 seconds.

* With BART’s history of violence and the Charles Hill shooting, the public was outraged, arguing that the shooting was unnecessary and brutal — just like the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, which ended in a wrongful death suit. BART police claimed self-defense in the incident, but locals called it brutality, reports The Guardian.

* On July 11, a group of protesters estimated at 100 people held doors open in an attempt to hold up BART service in opposition of the Charles Hill shooting. Violence was reported but no arrests were made.

* In response to the protests, the BART website warned customers that protests may disrupt services, according to the Los Angeles Times.

* Social media talks of protest engaged BART to the point of shutting down cell phone service on the platforms for three hours Thursday. BART administrators claimed they kept riders safe by preventing the protests through social media elimination; officials with the agency had discovered protesters would be communicating via phones to relay which stations had less BART police.

* Civil rights group Anonymous, known for hacking websites and compromising data, was outraged by BART authorities disrupting patron cell service. The hacker group determined the cell phone use disruption was a violation of the Constitution.

* The group threatened to remove the BART website for six hours Sunday, doubling the time BART shut cell phone service to customers.

* The BART marketing website was also hacked Wednesday by Anonymous, putting thousands of users at risk. The attacks were in direct response to the cell phone incident. Some users information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords, were posted on Anonymous’ Twitter account.

* Non-violent protests were called for by Anonymous Monday at the Civic Center BART station at 5 p.m. The group also encouraged protesters to bombard BART employees with calls and emails.

* Protests initiated by Anonymous at the Civic Center, Montgomery, Powell Street, and Embarcadero stations led to delays and shut-downs after 5 p.m. Monday. These protests forced BART police to turn travelers away because of the volatile atmosphere. Market Street was also shut down for a short time when protesting crowds headed east.

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