Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Laney student arrested

    BART police confiscate her cane; deny doing so

    Laney College student Antoinette Gaggero was arrested Jan. 16 by BART police for protesting at the Montgomery BART station in San Francisco.

    During her arrest, her items were confiscated including her cane, which she require to walk due to her medical condition of Fibromyalgia.

    Gaggero was part of the protest that sought disbanding of the BART police force, for the charges of the Black Friday protesters to be dropped, and for BART to provide a discounted ticket for low-income riders.

    Antoinette Gaggero

    Unable to walk without her cane, Gaggero was forcefully carried by BART police officers, accused of feigning that she couldn’t walk, and was later denied by BART police officers that she even had a cane in her possession.

    Gaggero said she cried out to officers that she was in pain. “They yanked me, they threw me to the ground; they bound me. I told them I was in pain, and they told me I could just walk… I heard them say ‘just ignore her,’” said Gaggero.

    She said the officers picked her up by her feet and by her arms, which were tied behind her back, and carried her to a BART employee break room.

    During her processing, the officers never noted on her personal possession inventory sheet that Gaggero had a cane. Later, the officers decided to carry her to an SFPD patrol car. “They were jeering at me, saying you could walk, you were walking just fine, you don’t need a cane,” Gaggero said.

    During a visit to The Laney Tower newsroom Gaggero logged on to the SF Gate website and the Chronicle article that covered the protest.

    There are photos of her holding her cane and being carried roughly by BART officers while another officer is holding her cane. Gaggero carries a cane but doesn’t have a formal doctor’s recommendation that she requires one.

    Gaggero said the ordeal was extremely painful because she suffers from Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder. Being carried in such a manner put her in pain that she describes as “the worst pain I have ever felt.”

    Gaggero attended her arraignment on Jan. 22 in San Francisco, accompanied by her sister, Esperanza, and four other supporters. Attorney (and former Oakland mayoral candidate) Dan Siegel represented Gaggero and asked to have her charges dropped.

    Siegel stated that Gaggero is “being charged under penal code 369I, which is an unconstitutionally vague law that doesn’t differentiate between lawful or unlawful conduct.”

    BART tried to move for a “stay out” order, which was denied by the court, but Gaggero is only allowed to use BART for transportation and not for protests.

    BART officials were asked for comment on Gaggero’s handling and subsequent arrest but have not responded. Gaggero’s next court date is on March 23. It is not clear if she will seek damages for her treatment by BART police.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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