K-pop girl group f(x) member Amber Liu has apologized after she ignited a firestorm online for commenting man about a man in California who was detained by police for eating a sandwich on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station platform.
“I am so sorry. I saw a video clip, made an ignorant, snap judgment, and I majorly messed up. It was my fault for not being more aware of how the systemic racism in the United States has continued and gotten worse while I spent the last 10 years overseas,” Amber posted on Twitter after she was called out and branded as racist.
Because of her comment, she became No. 1 on Twitter’s trending topics worldwide.
Last Nov. 4, Steve Foster was eating a sandwich on the BART Pleasant Hill station platform as he was waiting for the train that would take him to San Francisco where he worked when a police officer identified as D. McCormick approached him.
“You are detained and you are free to go,” the officer told him to which he replied, “you singled me out of all these people.”
The officer pointed out “you’re eating,” and Foster said, “So what?” and the officer said, “It’s against the law,” to which Foster again replied, “So what?”
“It’s a violation of California law. I have the right to detain you,” he told Foster, who replied, “No, you don’t.”
As the police officer was about the detain him, Foster said, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The BART’s Customer Code of Conduct states that it is prohibited to “eat or drink in the paid areas of the stations or on the trains.”
Civil rights lawyer John Burris has filed a claim against BART on behalf of Foster, saying the incident “smacks of racial profiling and selective law enforcement,” CBS San Francisco reported.
After watching the video, Amber, in a video uploaded online, commented, “he deserved it dude. He…deserved it. He speaks rightful, it’s like you don’t have to act like that towards a police office… police officers are police officers. You just show some type of respect. Know your rights but show some type of respect.”
In her apology, Amber added, “I 100% do not stand for racism and discrimination. It angers me that he was singled out because of the color of his skin. It is completely unjust and I am so sorry for not seeing the whole situation and jumping to a conclusion. I’m sorry for hurting you guys.”
“I’ve always stood for equality,I’ve always stood for love, I believe in #BlackLives Matter, and I’m so sorry I’ve negatively affected so many people because of my ignorance and I will continue to educate myself in this matter,” she said.
In a statement, BART General Manager Bob Powers said that “I’ve seen the video of the incident involving a man eating on our platform and our police response. Eating in the paid area is banned and there are multiple signs inside every station saying as much. As a transportation system our concern with eating is related to the cleanliness of our stations and system. This was not the case in the incident at Pleasant Hill station on Monday.”
He said, “The officer asked the rider not to eat while he was on the platform responding to another call. It should have ended there, but it didn’t. Mr. Foster did not stop eating and the officer moved forward with the process of issuing him a citation. The individual refused to provide identification, cursed at and made homophobic slurs at the officer who remained calm throughout the entire engagement.”
“The officer was doing his job but context is key. Enforcement of infractions such as eating and drinking inside our paid area should not be used to prevent us from delivering on our mission to provide safe, reliable, and clean transportation. We have to read each situation and allow people to get where they are going on time and safely,” Power said.
He added, “I’m disappointed how the situation unfolded. I apologize to Mr. Foster, our riders, employees, and the public who have had an emotional reaction to the video. I’ve spoken to our interim Police Chief about my feelings related to this incident and our Independent Police Auditor is conducting an independent investigation. He will report his findings to our Citizen Review Board.”