40-60 Teens Storm BART Train, Rob Passengers

This didn't get much media play anywhere else, but there was a shocking robbery late Saturday night in San Francisco when a swarm of 40-60 juveniles stormed a BART train, took over a railway car, and robbed  the passengers.

The teens exited the train and disappeared into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood.

And yes, the story in the San Francisco Chronicle somehow fails to mention the race of the wildlings.

According to a police officials, witnesses said 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

The juveniles “committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones,” said a police summary prepared after the incident. “At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention.”

Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, said Monday that seven robberies had occurred — with victims losing a purse, a duffel bag and five phones. Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform, she said.

The attack was quick, police reported, and the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train that was hit was held for about 15 minutes as authorities investigated the crime and tended to the injured.

“We are in the process of pulling all surveillance video and we will share with Oakland police, Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Housing Authority to see if they can help identify the minors,” Trost said. “We have had success with sharing images of juveniles with this group and identifying and making arrests in the past.”

The images cannot be shared publicly, she said, because the suspects appear to be minors.

Whenever someone complains about the media blackout on the racial makeup of criminals and thugs, the response is usually something like "it's not relevant to the story" or "we don't want to upset the local minority community by appearing to single out criminals."

My response is always: How can the race of the perpetrator not be relevant to the story? Or the race of the victim for that matter.

The time has come to put the "feelings" of various minority communities aside and instruct journalists to do their jobs: tell the story as it happened, leaving no salient fact out. If the perps were black, say they were black. If the perps were of all races, say that. This isn't rocket science. We used to call it journalism. I don't know what they call it today.

Too much to ask? Probably. But that doesn't mean we should stop demanding it every time a story like this hits the wires.