BART: Trains not stopping at West Oakland station due to ‘protest,’ concerns for rider safety

BART trains were not stopping at the West Oakland station Thursday night because a group of protesters blocked the fare gates, transportation officials said.

An unknown number of protesters blocked riders from passing through the fare gates, prompting BART officials to momentarily suspend stops at the station for “passenger safety,” according to Cheryl Stalter, a BART spokeswoman.

“Passengers are unable to enter and exit safely,” Stalter said.

BART officials initially announced the station closure due to “police activity” just after 6 p.m., but it’s unclear what kind of actions police are taking.

Social media users challenged BART’s description of the gathering at the West Oakland station as a protest, stating the protesters were in fact family and friends of Sahleem Tindle, 28, a man who was shot to death by BART police officer Joseph Mateu last January.

The group appeared to create a vigil outside of the station, where they mourned for Tindle one year after his death.

Alameda County prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Mateu after reviewing his body-worn camera and interviewing witnesses of the fatal shooting.

The office of District Attorney Nancy O’Malley found the officer reasonably believed he was acting in self-defense and in the defense of others when he shot Tindle in the back three times when Tindle and another man struggled over a handgun during a violent confrontation near the West Oakland BART station.

Lauren Hernandez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @LaurenPorFavor

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