Opinion: RT authority are going too far

The lightrail system map is displayed at the American River stop on the Regional Transit system. (photo by James Saling)

The behavior of those in law enforcement is quite often captured showing outcomes with excessive force, abuse of power, racism, and stereotyping.

The awareness in both negative and positive things in today’s society that has been brought to mainstream has had a huge impact, often capturing what appears to be authority figures violating people’s civil rights.

With the public demand for safer streets, do those in positions of law enforcement take things too far or can it be argued that they are doing what is necessary to achieve safer streets?

This, amongst other reasons are leaving civil rights activists, and people who just do not agree with the way events transpire before their eyes, in an outrage.

A most recent example of this type of situation was with an officer of the Regional Transit Light. It was captured on social media as this fare checker and a rider of the train had an altercation.

Rail System took his position of authority too far.

The Sacramento Bee online reported this incident and posted the video in question.

It showed a rider who allegedly attempting to assault a RT officer and the officer began to taze the rider.

Now video can be very revealing and informative. One would have to admit that video can also be missing many key elements that occur in such an exchange.

In reality there are only so many ways that the entire situation can be truly grasped as pertaining to what happened.  

That means one would have to be on either side of the exchange or being a first hand unbiased witness to the event. Only those directly involved can truly explain what they did and what they felt.

However if one or more of the subjects involved has a history of questionable or incriminating  behavior that should warrant more investigation.

The light rail fare checkers can be put under a spotlight just as easily as the fare evaders they seek out.

One day prior to the Sacramento Bee publishing that story online they failed to mention a similar incident that was not captured on video, that took place at the Mather Field/mills station.

Three fare checking officers were witnessed schoolyard bullying and harassing a rider whom had not purchased a ticket for the train.

Now it’s an age old saying that the punishment should fit the crime.

Larry Vermont is a transient who has fallen on some tough times. He was laid off work for over seven months from a work related injury and was unable to obtain workman’s compensation or disability benefits.

As the old saying goes when it rains it pours. His wife of three years left him in the same time frame.

“They followed me off the train and started saying they were sick of low life tweakers like me thinking we can do whatever we want,” said Vermont, “I told them I was sorry for not paying but I was cold and wanted to get out of the rain for a little while.”

It was then that they began to verbally attack and blatantly intimidate Vermont.

The evading does not justify the stereotyping and verbal attack the three fair checkers did.

Peg Tishial rides the light daily to and from work going and has been for well over 10 years.  

“The whole thing made me sick to my stomach. If they (were) my kids each one of them would have gotten my switch to their backside for that,” Tishial said regarding the 3 RT officers. “Their behavior was disgraceful and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Tishial was a first hand witness to the incident and at one point even voiced her anger at what she witnessed.  

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About the Author

James Saling
James Saling is a second semester student at ARC and a communications major and is a professional poker player and retired pro wrestler.

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