Update on BART's actions following the January 1 shooting


Update on BART's actions following the January 1 shooting

Since 1972, BART has built its solid reputation as a transportation leader dedicated to providing safe and reliable transportation to the communities that we serve.  It has been our history to face problems and take corrective action. While we cannot reverse the shooting of Oscar Grant, we can take every action to ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated.

1. In less than two weeks after the shooting, BART's Police Department completed a thorough and unbiased preliminary investigation into the shooting and delivered it to the District Attorney.  Our analysis, combined with the District Attorney’s work, led to charges against former Officer Mehserle.

2. On January 8, 2009, the BART Board President announced the establishment of a special Police Review Committee that will provide a greater, ongoing focus on the BART Police Department’s responsibilities.

3. Immediately after the District Attorney's office provided a copy of the KTVU video to BART Police and released us to re-interview officers and witnesses, BART Police resumed its ongoing investigations into the use of force by other officers on the platform.  We expect the criminal investigation to conclude this week. The results will be given to the District Attorney, who will determine if the actions of any other officers rise to the level of a prosecutable offense.

4. BART retained Meyers Nave to conduct an independent internal affairs investigation into this incident.  If officers violated any BART Police policy or procedure, discipline up to and including termination can be recommended.

5. We are also retaining outside experts in law enforcement to conduct a full review of the BART Police Department.  Departmental policies and tactics, from recruitment, hiring and training to use of force, investigatory practices and how we handle citizen complaints will be thoroughly evaluated.  This review will identify any changes that we should make, as well as identify best practices in progressive policing that we should adopt. Unlike the internal affairs investigation, which involves individual employees and therefore is governed by certain privacy rights, the Police Department review will involve significant public input and review of recommendations.

6. The BART Board’s Police Review Committee is working to establish civilian oversight of the Police Department.  We will be talking with oversight boards throughout the Bay Area to determine the best approach for our organization.  We will engage the public to ensure that the values and vision of the diverse community we serve are part of the process.

While BART has had only three fatal officer shootings in our 36-year history, any shooting that results in death is a tragedy. The steps we are taking in the aftermath of the shooting demonstrate our commitment to build public trust and to do all that we can to make sure the tragedy of January 1 never happens again.