Source: washingtonpost.com 9/23/21
Metro’s board has dropped a proposal to ban people from the transit system who were arrested on suspicion of sex crimes or found to be carrying a dangerous weapon, the board chairman said Thursday. The proposal had been scheduled for a vote this month, prompting more than 100 letters or messages to board members, mostly against the proposal, and protests at Metro stations and in front of a board member’s house.
The proposed ban would have allowed Metro Transit Police to immediately suspend people from stations, trains and buses who had been arrested on the transit system’s property on suspicion of committing a sex offense or a crime involving a firearm. A first offense would have triggered a 14-day ban, with 30 days for a second offense, and a year for a third offense.
Supporters said the measure would combat a surge in indecent exposure incidents as more riders return to Metro and office buildings amid the pandemic. Opponents argued the policy could be abused by Metro Transit Police, which in recent years has been accused by District residents and council members of disproportionately targeting Black customers, using excessive force and arresting people to reach job performance quotas.
Some civil rights groups said the ban could take away the only form of transportation for some residents without due process. Nassim Moshiree, the policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia, said the proposal was misguided and threatened the livelihoods of the people who depend on Metro. “We hope any future proposal under consideration by [Metro] will begin with a fully transparent process that includes public input from the community it serves,” she said.