Transcript of statement from General Manager Dorothy Dugger, January 9 Press Conference
Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson: "Thank you everybody for coming, this is Dorothy Dugger, she is the General Manager at BART, her name is spelled D-O-R-O-T-H-Y, last name Dugger, D-U-G-G-E-R. We also have Police Chief Gary Gee over here, his last name is spelled G-E-E, G-A-R-Y is his first name. And Dorothy would like to address the public and the media."
General Manager Dorothy Dugger: "Members of the press, thank you for coming this afternoon. As I begin on behalf of the BART Board of Directors and myself I would like to express to the family of Oscar Grant our deepest sympathies for the loss of their loved one. Our hearts and prayers go out to them at this time of grief. Additionally, I want to extend condolences to the entire community, which is also feeling the loss of this tragic event.
I’m here today to update you on our investigation into the death of Oscar Grant, to answer some of the questions that we heard at yesterday’s Board of Director’s meeting and to tell you what BART is doing next. Yesterday at the Board of Director’s meeting we saw an extraordinary outpouring from dozens of citizens who came before the BART Board of Directors to make their voices heard. I hope that this will be an important step in the healing process for the community. We heard their voices, we heard their anger, frustration.
At the conclusion of that meeting, the Board of Directors directed that a meeting of the Board be scheduled to enable it to act to create a subcommittee of the Board , to examine major police incidents and to provide greater focus on BART’s police responsibilities. Today we have scheduled that meeting for 1:30 on Monday, January 12. The Board will meet first in closed session and then follow with a public session to take action on the establishment of that committee. While the specific scope and breadth of the committee’s responsibilities is still under development, the overriding responsibility and intent of the Board is to make sure that such a terrible tragedy never happens again.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to update you on the investigation process and responsibilities based on some of the discussions held in the last couple of days. I’m not sure there is a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities. There are, as we have discussed, throughout the past week, two parallel criminal investigations proceeding, one conducted by the BART police investigators and a separate, independent investigation by the District Attorney’s Office. As you are aware, it is the District Attorney who has the responsibility to determine and bring any charges forward in this matter.
The BART police investigation has been ongoing since the early morning hours of New Year’s Day immediately following the shooting incident. We have team of nine detectives working on this investigation. All of the officers who were on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station at the incident were interviewed, with the exception of Officer Mesherle, who, as we have reported, exercised his rights under the Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights and generally under law to retain counsel, and has not been forthcoming with his statement. As was reported yesterday, the District Attorney has welcomed the Oakland Police Department into their investigation, as well. The BART investigators have interviewed all of the officers who were on the platform with the exception of Officer Mesherle, and have interviewed other witnesses and examined video evidence. We are cooperating fully with the investigation with the District Attorney’s Office. All of the evidence that the BART investigation has gathered has been provided on an ongoing basis to the District Attorney’s Office, so they have access to everything that we have completed or conducted. That said, I have asked the BART, that the BART police investigators complete their preliminary investigation in no less than a week, so that the complete assembly of that evidence as a single package can be delivered to the District Attorney.
In conclusion, I believe yesterday’s meeting was just the beginning of a dialogue between BART and the community coming out of this incident. We will continue to create further opportunities to further that dialogue. As was discussed at the Board meeting yesterday, are working to identify a time and location where we can hold community meetings outside of the formal Board process. Since the first day of this tragedy we have expressed our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Oscar Grant and I continue to do so again today. This was indeed a tragic event for all involved and we extend our condolences.
Thank you. I would be happy to take any questions."