Transit agency head defends cell service shutoff

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? The head of the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency is defending the system’s move to cut wireless service to thwart a planned protest last week. But he says the tactic likely won’t be used again.

BART board president Bob Franklin says cell phone service was left on during a second demonstration Monday night because the tactic was unlikely to prevent protesters from gathering at San Francisco’s Civic Center station.

Four days earlier, the agency turned off the service in its stations after protest organizers said they would issue last-minute instructions through social media and text messages. The demonstration had been planned in response to a fatal BART police shooting.

Franklin says BART lawyers had signed off on the plan, but says he expects the agency will be sued.