Small 'eat-in' for man cited by BART officer for eating on platform

Steve Foster of Concord ate a burrito on BART and was cited by police.

A small "eat-in" was peacefully staged Saturday at the Pleasant Hill BART station, the same spot where a man was cuffed and cited last week for eating a breakfast sandwich, against the agency's rules and state law.

Only about eight people showed up, and the activists did not include Steve Foster of Concord, who has since hired the law firm of John Burris to file a racial profiling claim against BART.

One man from San Jose drove all the way to the East Bay with a box of donuts to show his support for Foster. He  pointed out what he thinks is a contradiction over the no-eating rule: The fact that there are trash cans up on the platform prove, in his mind, that BART authorities know people, in fact, eat past the gates. 

Signs outside the station and on the platform clearly state that eating in the area is a violation of state law. However, Burris said this week that the law is one that is rarely enforced. 

Foster said he knew he could not eat on the train. However, he did not know it was against the law to eat on the platform when he did so on Nov. 8. He said had he known, he would have thrown it away or eaten it outside the fare gate.  He also said the officer called him an "idiot" and "stupid" a few times. 

At a news conference this week at Burris' office, Foster said he felt attacked and singled out by the officer because he's a black man and didn't want to back down. 

For its part BART's general manager Bob Powers said in a letter he was disappointed on how things unfolded and apologized to Foster. 

However, he also said the officer was just doing his jo