BART Police Respond to Alleged Dancing on Train, Arrest and Assault Young Woman

Nubia Bowe

Nubia Bowe

When 19-year-old Nubia Bowe was returning home on BART with friends on the evening of March 21, she had no idea that it would be the worst night of her life.


The evening ended up with her being accused by police of intimidating a witness and her friends being handcuffed for dancing on a BART train. She was slammed to the ground and struck repeatedly, arrested and sent to the county jail for four days. She now faces now four misdemeanors and was kicked out of school.

That’s what happened when BART police responded to a complaint that young men were dancing and soliciting money on a train at the Lake Merritt station. Bowe and her friends, who had not seen anyone dancing on the train, were picked out as the culprits by one witness, who later recanted.

However, her friends were handcuffed and detained, even though a train full of witnesses repeatedly told police the young people were not the perpetrators.

But the arrest was the only the beginning of the ordeal. Bowe was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and accused of resisting arrest, among other charges.

When she reached the county jail at Santa Rita, she says officers beat her for allegedly attacking one of the guards, and she was put in restraints, similar to a straight jacket. She was placed in a wrap which had handcuffs attached and a belt connecting her upper body to her ankles.

As a result of the arrest, was kicked out of her training program at Treasure Island Job Corps.

When contacted by the Oakland Post, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost forwarded the police log, which stated, “A BART sergeant and officer were flagged down on a complaint of patrons on a train dancing, playing music and creating a disturbance.

“They did not cooperate and became combative. One suspect bit one officer causing a moderate laceration on his left arm. Two suspects were cited and released, one was booked into the Alameda County Jail.”

“If there are any reports of police misconduct, we encourage people to contact our Office of the Independent Police Auditor, who will conduct an investigation,” said Trost.

By press time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office had not responded to the Post’s questions.

The March 21 incident began when BART officers responded to a complaint that two young, male dancers were soliciting for money on the train. The two men who were accompanying Bowe were approached by the officers at the Lake Merritt station, with a witness who at first identified the young men as the suspects.

The men were instructed by the officers to get off the train for questioning. During the questioning, train riders told the officers that the three suspects had not engaged in the solicitation of passengers and that young people they were looking for had already left the train at the West Oakland station.

“We were on the train minding our own business when a man entered the train with two BART officers and told them it was us,” said Levi Allen, one of Bowe’s friends. “The guy came from a different car, and we had never seen him before.”

Bowe and her two friends are African American. She was a full-time student at a local security-training program. Repeatedly trying to explain that her friends were innocent, she told the officers that they were violating the young men’s rights.

By this time, BART passengers were loudly calling out to the officers, saying the young people were innocent, and the police forcibly removed Bowe from the train.

The witness who had initially identified Bowe and her friends as the perpetrators later told officers they weren’t the right group.

“Once they pulled me off the train, I was first slammed to the ground and then thrown against the wall,” said Bowe. “The officers pushed me back down and continued to elbow and knee me in my 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.’”

When Bowe’s friends protested the young woman’s treatment, they were taken upstairs away from the conflict. Some of the passengers recorded the confrontation on their cell phones showing footage of Bowe pinned down by officers while screaming for help.

Bowe was taken to the Lake Merritt station holding cell in preparation for transport to Santa Rita Jail on one felony and three misdemeanor charges.

When she arrived at Santa Rita, she was taunted, battered and denied medical care, as well as the right to make a phone call for three days. Bowe is 5’1” and weighs 105 pounds.

“Three male guards and one female guard came in my cell and beat me up,” said Bowe. “They hit me and then 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.

“I could tell they were trying to break my spirit.”

She was in custody for four nights. Her bail was set at $120,000.

Though the felony charge was eventually dropped, the arrest resulted in Bowe being kicked out of her training program, where she was only two months away from graduating.

“This case represents another example of racial profiling by BART police,” said civil-rights Attorney Dan Siegel, who represents Bowe. “Although the end isn’t as tragic, its 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.”

In light of the charges, Bowe’s family and friends have started a group against police brutality called the One Shot Away Coalition. The coalition is saying that people of color are all one shot away from incarceration and/or death.

A trial date on the BART charges has been set for Aug. 5, and the pre-trial hearing on the Santa Rita charges is scheduled for May 19.

“She will forever have to deal with the trauma of her experiences,” said Carroll Fife, Bowe’s godmother. “We want justice for Nubia and those young men who were cuffed, detained, cited and released. They were not read their rights. The district attorney is pressing for jail time, so we have to get prepared for a long fight with help from the community to get the word out.”

Anyone who has information about the case or who wishes to learn more should go to

Video from the arrest at Lake Merritt BART station can be viewed here:

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  1. So when the oscar grant MURDER happened, i was not one bit surprised. BART has an intensly long history if racial profiling and abuse. They should be sued for negligence everytime. Oh, and they also hire racist Asian cops too.

  2. Bart is one sick organization.I was coming from a festival. Got to an oklland station trying to get to s.f.. came up on the gates with large group of whites in their twenties. The money/ticket machine was not excepting miney. We tried n tried, yelled out for assistance, no employees anywhere to assist us. Finally the group of whites said, “f@ck this sh#t”,and they all jumped the gates without paying. A couple of them asked me what i was waiting for. I told them that the minute i jump the gate, thats when a cop will show up. They laughed like i was paranoid. About three mins after that. I said to myself, “f@ck this sh#t”, and jumped the gate. This is after trying the machine several more times. What happened next? You guessed it, a white PIG came immediatly out from a side door to try to arrest me. He asked me what i was doing, not paying. I explained the situation with the machine. I also told him that if you were watching me, then he

    • must have seen the group of whites jump the gates just before me. He then asked me what my name was, i lied to the “cracker PIG”, told him i had lost my ID, and that my name was Paul Bonion. He said, “don’t you think thats an odd name?” I laughed in his cracker face and said, “yeah, kind of, but there are going to be tons more wgite kids on there way doing the same thing as the group you just let get away with it.” At this point the PIG knew i had his racist ass. He the verbally warned me about paying and let me go. What a Racist bunch they are. Not the only racist encounter either. How are they able to get away with such blatemt racism in this day and age? Just sick f%cks!

  3. Kaci

    After reading the comments I feel like no one read the entire article? That or they didn’t finish it? That or they don’t comprehend what they are reading? I see so many questions on here that were clearly addressed in the article…

  4. This is a result of stereotyping. Or over anxious cops trying to do their job.

  5. poopy

    Ah din’ do nuffins! It be dat racis’ po-po!

  6. Sharon

    Bart Police must have FORGOTTEN that Bart Cars have cameras on them. Bart, watch the videos, then fire the Cops, apologize to victims and prepare for a Law Suit. Bart, do not destroy or alter those images!

  7. Les

    So let me get this straight, the police were told by other passengers that the people causing the disturbance had already gotten off the train and yet innocent people were harassed, humiliated, arrested and harmed for no reason, way to go B.A.R.T. Police. Do they not understand that since the Oscar Grant case they are under close watch by the public? Sounds like a few over zealous officers got carried away. Hopefully the truth comes out but it’s already to late for Ms. Bowe who has since been kicked out of a Job Corp program and has to now pay for legal fees.

  8. I am both in solidarity with those in this case and in the Andy Lopez shooting. Those behind this cause and the “Andy Lopez Youth” need to talk.

  9. Bethy Victorin

    I am so sorry for what you and your friends had to endure Nubia. Stay Strong!!!

  10. Judi Beale

    I remember fruitcake station. That was BART also. This ended in death.
    I visited SF and thought it was beautiful. I heard from other black people, how very racist the city is. This was the impression of professional black people. Racism is every where. I now live in Atlanta. Wonderful place and no earthquakes. Who knew.

  11. Len

    The Montgomery bus boycott lasted almost a full year. I don’t think it would take more than a month to bring BART to it’s knees.

  12. kenhead

    Since they weren’t the perpetrators, they had good reason to believe that their arrest was unlawful. Resisting unlawful arrest is never a crime, except in a police state.

  13. Johnny

    This’ll be a short trial. BART trains are covered in cameras. They’ll either show the video of her UNLAWFULLY DANCING (I can’t believe I just said that), or get to explain why the cameras had a mysterious malfunction in just that one car.

  14. Dona Scoyk

    The only thing I thought BART was known was for getting people killed by their trains on a regular babes…since when is dancing a BAD thing? Cops are nothing but hired thugs and bullies…I am ashamed of our system and the officials that participate in it…The bible say’s, “man shall dominate man to his ruin” and that is so true….

  15. James Johnson

    Bart trains have cameras, just get the video out then see whose fault was it

  16. Jenny

    Stop police brutality now. I press for jail time…for the cops.

  17. Rodney Morgan

    That’s bull crap I ride the Bart frequently and I see a lot of homeless people on the Bart just asking for money most of them white.The second a person of Color dances on Bart she’s arrested and assaulted!!Where are they finding these damn cops at!!

  18. Kusuru

    Breaks my heart. We all know that our system of government can be very unfair at times and very fair at others. We are taught that if there is any hope for fairness or justice that mostly likely it will take place in the courtroom, yet even this is not an absolute! Thus, when we are confronted with a situation like the above one even in its beginning moments our best recourse is to placate as much as possible and use the courts to the extent possible. One has to judge when to hold, when to fold and when to run. This takes time and experience to get a handle on, yet it is crusial to our survival in these times…times that for some of us are not too unlike slavery! Peace.

  19. when are these cops, and the ones who did the exact same bs to me and my daughter, going to be delivered consequences ???

  20. I also have been assaulted in jail by police when I did nothing and they lied about it. The power they have will be stripped of them someday.

  21. Mel.E

    I would suite The shit outtah them…I would find as many witnesses that was on that train..

  22. Barbara

    My goodness; this young lady is the spitting image of my nephew, Andrew, here in the UK. Happy to help this young lady if we can. Need to pursue this

  23. EFF BART

    Yet another reason to HATE BART.

  24. Hmm

    And we are only hearing these folks side of the story. Blacks yelling about their civil rights happens so often that many start to doubt… The perpetual victim race, while other races continue to advance…

    I don’t think we hearing the whole story…

    • Bret

      Ah yes, the blacks yelling about their civil rights! How dare they speak up against a country founded on slavery and white power. How dare they continue to speak out against the systemic discrimination and injustice they face every day. The nerve!

    • Rp

      I believe that you do not fully understand the definition of civil rights. Civil rights do not only apply to African Americans, they apply to anyone who is being discriminated against and denied rights based on their race, religion, physical appearance, sexual orientation, economic class etc . . . When Ms. Bowed stated that her civil rights were being violated it had nothing to do with the color of her skin. By arresting Ms. Bowe without probable cause (because the initial complaint was about two males) they violated her civil rights. By pulling her off a train because she knows her rights and spoke up about them the cops violated her freedom of speech. By arresting her without reading her Miranda rights or informing her of what she’s being arrested for they violated her civil rights. Sometimes hatred and ignorance can be so powerful that it clouds the intelligent part of the brain. Don’t allow your brain to be clouded and if it is stay off of the internet with it.

  25. SantaFeDoctorsWARN

    Having lived in San Francisco and the Bay Area for 25 years, this truly shocks me…I’ve been gone almost 20 years but even properly arresting kids for dancing on BART is ridiculous and this…We need a worldwide petition on this and a lot more coverage.

    EMF/EMR activists have seen reports by cops in EU that being constantly exposed to wireless devices, vehicles, offices was driving them nuts: it causes albumen to leak through the brain’s blood barrier, leaving openings that viruses can infect.Another effective way to make our police Fascists. This site won’t let me post our url:

  26. marvin

    Once again thugs with guns and badges beat up innocent people

  27. sarah

    Well lets recap Bart Police background: They shoot and kill unarmed ‘suspects” in the back, they accidently shoot their own, and now they’re beating up women. Sadly, this oddly not surprising.

  28. Crewes

    I hope she sues also. Was this reported on network TV as REAL reality!

    • Harvey Wachtel

      I wish there were a way for people like her to sue the individual thug-cops instead of the taxpayers. Maybe then this kind of thi9ng would stop happening all the time.

  29. JP

    Riders should unite and boycott BART! They will understand the loss of profits…dum mean spirited individuals that they are!

  30. That’s why I don’t take public transportation, and my children will not.

  31. GJS

    I Don’t understand What She Is Being Charged With If The Witnesses Recanted Their Identification.

    • Tom808

      She is probably being charged with assaulting the police while in custody. Her face and ribs attacked three guards – that were doing what? in her cell? She really hurt them all. She hit them right on the hands with her cheekbones and brutalized their toes with her ribs. (sarcasm).
      I hope she takes them all to court. those cops and BART cops should be fired and jailed themselves.

  32. Why are the police such cowards?

  33. Matthew Kaftor

    Let’s see the video!!!

  34. BtA

    This is so wrong – her training program should let her back in! And for the rest of it, those officers who participated in this need to be disciplined and let go right down the line – what else is going on if they are beating people in cells?

  35. Not one more

    3 misdemeanors and they held her for 3 days and set the bail at 120,000. Something shady is going on. First of all if the complaint was about BOYS dancing, why did the “witness” say SHE was the boy. Sounds like some homophobia there. Also Bart police don’t come when there people taking a dump in the cars, when they are smoking up on the trains but they came when someone was DANCING? Sounds shady. Sounds like one of the BART goons didn’t like her talking back and decided to beat her, that’s why they took the friends away so they couldn’t be witnesses. can’t wait for the passenger’s videos to come out and the BART to have pay. Ten to one, all charges against her will be dropped or they will try to get her to plead out.

  36. Someone should start a fundraising campaign to cover her legal and medical costs. I hope she sues the BART police department.

    • mickey mouse

      I would like to see video. They have cameras on all those trains now.

    • Charles Heyward

      She needs to I’m so sick of hearing these kind shit that the police are getting away with its time for us to stand up and let them pussy know that we are not afraid and we need to fight there ass back fuck that … Another story of a cracker starting trouble and a inercent person gets a bad deal out of it

  37. David B

    BART police have to wear cameras, right? The video from those cameras, if they ever see the light of day, will be … interesting.

    • BadExampleMan

      I’m sure we will all be shocked to find out that all those officers’ camera just happened to be malfunctioning at the time of these events.

    • whitney

      Bart police dont real cops do

      • your sin will catchbup with you

        And they wonder or do they even care..thus is why the police have list all respect..because for one they don’t give it..I say they have have ” power heads” for some.reason they believe they that they are above the law that they are ti’s a long hard fight..thr devil is so so busy and just saddens me..sue bart sue the police separately sue the prosecutor sue th hem all in separate cases even tge school they did not wait for the end..tired of bring messed about because of our color gender belief stations in life..may God have mercy

        • FG

          I am waiting for the hard driven journalistic investigation that reveals the reason behind recent ‘police brutality’ incidents: ‘roid rage’

          Would we be wrong to expect a ‘peace officer’ to submit a sample for a WADA class blood test whenever they are involved in a ‘self defense vs an inferior opponent’ incident?

    • Carol

      Cameras don’t stop racism, harassment or murder. See New Mexico.

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