043014 Dancing on BARTAll it took was one phone call to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police and one questionable witness to have 19-year-old Nubia Bowe arrested and assaulted by officers. Only thing is, she’s innocent of her charges.

On the evening of March 21, BART police responded to a complaint about young men dancing and soliciting money on a train. A witness identified the two men riding with Bowe as the suspects, so officers instructed them to exit the train for questioning. Meanwhile, other passengers tried to tell the officers they had the wrong people.

The witness later recanted, saying Bowe and her friends weren’t the perpetrators.

Yet Bowe was still handcuffed, detained, and beaten.

“Once they pulled me off the train, I was first slammed to the ground and then thrown against the wall,” says Bowe, who is 5’1” and 105 pounds. “The officers pushed me back down and continued to elbow and knee me in the back. My mouth was full of blood by then. The whole time this was happening, I repeatedly said, ‘I am not resisting arrest. You are violating my civil rights.’”

Bowe says she was taunted, battered again, and denied medical treatment and her phone call once she arrived at Santa Rita Jail.

“Three male guards and one female guard came in my cell and beat me up,” Bowe says. “They hit me and said that I assaulted one of them. So they chained my wrists to my ankles and tipped me over onto the urine-soaked ground so I couldn’t get up.”

Bowe was booked on one felony charge and three misdemeanors. She was held for four nights with a bail set at $120,000.

Although the felony charge has been dropped, Bowe has been kicked out of the Treasure Island Job Corps training program, where she was only two months away from graduating.

“This case represents another example of racial profiling by BART police,” says civil-rights attorney Dan Siegel, who represents Bowe. “Although the end isn’t as tragic, it’s similar to the Oscar Grant case. Some person made a complaint about dancing on BART, Nubia and her friends were not the people dancing, and yet, she still faces two sets of charges for allegedly fighting with police and resisting arrest.”

Bowe’s arrest happened only two months after BART police were caught on video tasering and using excessive force against a black man.

A trial date for the BART charges is set for Aug. 5, and the pretrial hearing for the Santa Rita charges is scheduled for May 19.

Read more here.

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  • genii love

    Tragedy: an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.

    I don’t think there is scale…tragic is tragic. Her life will never be the same. I feel for her.

  • Aiych

    This is infuriating. It’s made even more aggravating since we the people are largely impotent when it comes to preventing police brutality. Even when we record things, our calls for justice (even with clear evidence) frequently go ignored and the perps go unpunished/lightly punished. It makes me feel helpless that I and countless others can read these types of things, put effort into spreading the word and demanding change, but then nothing changes. Police just continue to abuse their power and royally f*** up people’s lives. The police better watch out because when people feel like they’re not being heard whilst being peaceful and diplomatic, some may lash out violently. It would not surprise me if a lone wolf started gunning down officers or terrorizing police stations, or even targeting off duty officers and their families. If the police continue acting like this, they’re going to push somebody to their limit and that person will not stage a protest or sue. They’ll do something crazy. It might not even be a victim of police brutality, but somebody who just has animosity towards police in general. We’ve seen how lone wolves act, particularly in cases of angry white supremacists. They sometimes even completely miss their intended target like the man who tried to kill Jews recently but ended up shooting a bunch of non-Jews or the man who shot up the Sikh temple thinking they were Muslims. It could result in good, upstanding officers being killed. However, unlike the victims of the racist attacks, the police are actually doing something to aggravate citizens and justify the anger towards them. They are a government sanctioned gang. If police were attacked, there could actually be quite a bit of sympathy for the attacker even if it made the police even more aggressive towards people in the long run.

  • Mary Burrell

    I hope she sues them.