Police chief, auditor update BART Board on July 3 officer-involved shooting


Police chief, auditor update BART Board on July 3 officer-involved shooting

Here is a closed/caption-provided transcript of Item 3A from the Thursday, July 14, 2011, BART Board of Directors meeting, an update on the July 3, 2011, officer-involved shooting at the Civic Center/UN Plaza BART Station. A playback with video and audio will be available later today at www.bart.gov/board.

Remarks from BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey:
As you are aware we had an officer-involved shooting on July 3rd … I would like to bring an update on what is going to happen going forward.  Because it occurred in San Francisco, San Francisco homicide detail representatives from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, responding to the scene along with members of our criminal investigation unit, and there are four entities with ongoing and active investigations into the circumstances surrounding this incident including San Francisco Police Department, which is the lead agency, the San Francisco District Attorney's office, the BART internal affairs and auditor. Some (witnesses) were identified by responding officers who cordoned off the crime scene. Others have come forward as a result of our encouragement and the media in any witnesses contact our department at 510-464-7040.

All of the interviews are being conducted in the presence of the same investigators from San Francisco police department, San Francisco district attorney's office and one of our criminal investigations. As in any investigation the main impediments are contacting or recon targeting witnesses in the district and scheduling interviews based on their schedules.  To date, nine eyewitnesses have been interviewed face-to-face and ten potential witnesses have been interviewed over the phone.  As information becomes available, in the criminal investigation's process is being shared with our internal affairs unit and the independent auditor. In addition, part of the incident was captured on BART cctv, the video was turned over to San Francisco police department and is part of the criminal investigation.

San Francisco Police Department does not want the video released until they have a chance to interview witnesses. Logic behind this reasoning is that potential witnesses will recall what they saw that night and not be tainted by what they view in the media and I concur with this reasoning.  Although our CSI personnel responding to the incident, the crime scene was processed by San Francisco police department CSI unit and they are in possession of all the physical evidence. I want to stress that officer involved shootings are complex investigations and San Francisco did not have a strict timeline on completion date or when they will present their case to the district attorney's office. The last report that criminal investigators receive in this type of case, the medical examiner or coroner's report. Generally these investigations can take months to conclude.  However, internal San Francisco Police Department wanted to be able to provide their chief a report in 45 days. 

Remarks from Mark Smith, the independent police auditor for BART:

I  have an interest in being there to fulfill my role of asking questions whether it be through an officer of every BART police investigation.  However, this one, as the chief mentioned is a little bit unique to my understanding that San Francisco Police Department is in control of it as far as the criminal investigation goes.  The positive thing that I have is that I have been in  direct contact with the internal affairs and BART police department including the involvement and my ability to ask questions. Terms have been agreed upon and so I expect that to ensue shortly.  The San Francisco Police Department as far as their investigation is something that I have obviously no control over it and it makes it a little more tenuous or difficult to insert myself into their process as long as they own that part of the investigation.  Short way of saying that is that I understand what the chief said about the arrangement of this investigation.  It's a multi-layered investigation that includes complexity and accountability, which is a very important thing.

I wanted to state briefly it's my responsibility as the independent police auditor for BART to monitor, again, the BART police department's investigation into the officer involved shooting that occurred July 3rd. I have already begun to fulfill that responsibility and did so pretty much immediately after the incident occurred with phone conversations with Chief Rainey and other staff.  Since then I have maintained regular contact with BART Police Department's internal affairs investigators who have their own role to play whether officer involved committed any misconduct.  I'm continuously making sure that I have all the evidence that they have.  I'm reviewing that evidence as it becomes available. As recently as late yesterday, i received some new evidence from the internal affairs investigators.  When my review of BART Police Department's investigation is complete I will release a report of my findings.

Separate from that, just wanted to mention that on Tuesday, as many people know, the citizen board had its first meeting, which was a positive event. The members introduced themselves to each other and heard comments from the public regarding this issue.

The citizen board will meet Monday at 9:00 a.m. to form its operational procedures.


Updated: July 14, 2011 to add video