Rider’s Advisory Council votes 16 –1 to send clear message to WMATA Board and Metro General Manager to stop the searches.
In a spirited discussion notable for its near unanimous sentiment, the RAC agreed on these principles, among others:
- The Bag Search Program should be stopped immediately.
- WMATA should hold public hearings on the controversial program.
- Civil liberties and riders groups should be brought into the discussion.
- Police should find an effective way to combat terrorism and the more relevant crime concerns of riders.
- Concern about delegating policy decision-making to GM/Police Chief; (policy decisions) should be delegated if specific/credible threat.
The RAC responded to an outpouring of public opposition to the bag search program that was on display at a special meeting of the RAC on January 3. At that meeting over 40 members of the public, including members of the DC Bill of Rights Coalition, the Montgomery County Bill of Rights Coalition and the DC ACLU testified in opposition to the searches.
Karen O’Keefe, an attorney with the DC Bill of Rights Coalition said the RAC vote “reflected the will of riders.”
Metro’s Board will take up the measure during its regularly scheduled meeting on January 27, 2011.
NOTE: links added to blog version of release.
UPDATE, EDIT 1/13: fifth bullet point (“concern about delegating”) added on examination of video record.