Statement by BART Police Chief Gary Gee
to Media & Public on 1/4/09 During News Conference
On behalf of the BART Police Department and the entire BART organization, we want to express our condolences to the family of Oscar Grant.
I want to assure Mr. Grant's family and the public that we are taking this investigation very seriously. And, we are committed to complete an unbiased and thorough investigation into what happened on the morning of New Year's Day.
In addition to our investigation, we are fully cooperating with the Alameda County District Attorney's office, which is conducting a parallel and independent investigation. We are providing all of the evidence of our investigation to the District Attorney.
This case is not even four days old – we are in the early stages of the investigation and will do a thorough job. We are reviewing all of the evidence, including videos, witness statements, and physical evidence as we compile a complete and accurate account of what happened on in the early morning of January First.
As frustrating as it is, I want to stress that we cannot and will not jeopardize this case by discussing details before the investigation is complete.
While some have already begun to draw conclusions and speculate about what happened well before all the facts are in, doing so may compromise independent recollections from witnesses and does a disservice to getting at the answers we are seeking.
We continue to ask people to come forward if they have any evidence or eyewitness accounts. They can call our tip line at (877) 679-7000, extension 7040. Or, they wish to present their information directly to the Alameda County DA's office. The DA's general number is (510) 272-6222.
We ask for the public to be patient, refrain from jumping to conclusions, and allow the investigators do their jobs. As has been previously said, there is very little information that can be released at this time. I can, however, provide some basic facts.
We are investigating an incident early New Year's Day at the Fruitvale BART Station in which Mr. Grant was fatally wounded.
The involved officer is a two-year veteran of the BART Police force. That officer underwent drug and alcohol testing and is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
The incident began when BART police received a report that two groups of riders were involved in an altercation on a train after it left West Oakland Station around 2 a.m. BART police officers responded to the platform at Fruitvale and detained several persons. Our preliminary investigation indicates that Mr. Grant was not in handcuffs at the time of the shooting.
I cannot tell you when this investigation will be completed. But, again, I assure you that we are committed to conducting an accurate and thorough investigation.
We recognize that it is frustrating that we cannot answer many of your questions right now – but doing so could lead to speculation and compromise the integrity of the ongoing investigations.
Again, we ask for your patience and I thank you for coming.