Aug. 23, 2014 (San Diego) Yesterday Channel Ten released yet another video of what looks like abuse of force by Metropolitan Transit (MTS) Officers. Transit Officers are not POST certified, therefore, they are not law enforcement. They are subcontractors with MTS, with Universal Protection Services. Their job is to make sure you paid your fare, and that you can stand at the paid fare area. They can also ask for you to put out your cigarette if you are smoking.
Their training is above that of a basic security guard since they do carry weapons and have very limited arrest capacity, but they are not law enforcement. Still, they generate lawsuits often, and what happened yesterday on the Green line in La Mesa is not unprecedented.
They are known in the community to use racial profiling. Bertha Gutierrez of Chula Vista has documented many of the recent events, on the page Stop MTS Brutality on Facebook. I have no idea if the most recent beating will go up, but we do ask that MTS review the training protocols, and in the age of cell phones their actions will certainly be recorded.
The page, which is not that active, but documents some of this, is here.
Some examples from the page include the beating of a young student who was attending City College at the time. His name is Emanuel Wimer, 24, and his story was reported in the City Times, the student paper at City College in the end filed a complaint with MTS for abuse of force. This after he was beaten and arrested by San Diego Police, after MTS officers, called them. One of the charges was resisting arrest, and Wimer filed a complaint after all charges were dropped.
The same article lists two other incidents. In one MTS demanded to see ID after a student presented a pass for a disabled person. MTS officers do not have the authority to demand ID they are not police officers.
Channel Ten also has reported on a man beaten at a station, who also had a service dog.
Another case involved a businessman, who filed a lawsuit in federal court. The case was dismissed but it shows a pattern of behavior and of social profiling by MTS officers.
The Trolley system is one of the few in the country not to have actual police officers. In the near future, as the trolley expands it’s line, they will be required to. We can only hope that having POST certified officers will reduce these incidents. In the meantime, MTS should do something about this.
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