Talking Points for 5/2 Public Meeting on Civilian Review of BART PD

1) A Civilian Police Review Board is a necessary and good idea for an police force. But we must be clear that Civilian Review will not settle the issues that we have with BART since the shooting of Oscar Grant. These problems include:
  • There has to be accountability at BART. Not a single person has been disciplined at BART for actions at the time of Oscar's murder or for the cover up that is still ongoing. Dorothy Dugger and Chief Gee absolutely must be fired for covering up the murder. Officers who violated the law or procedure (which is all of them) must be fired.
  • Charges must be brought against the other officers on the platform, and possibly against Chief Gee and Dorothy Dugger (and any other BART employees) who acted as accessories after the fact by lying to protect those involved. The fact that no such charges have been filed as a result of BART's investigation, coupled with public statements and legal filings in which Dugger and Gee exonerate all officers on the platform (inicluding Mehserle) indicates a serious and intentional cover-up. We have performed our own investigations and we know of numerous lies and inconsistencies demonstrating criminal behavior. We are exposing more and more of them as time goes on.
  • The BART police force must be significanly restructured, retrained, and reformed or else it needs to be eliminated. Adding a police review committee does not accomplish either of these goals. These goals require serious time and effort, and that process cant really begin until AFTER we learn the facts from the comprehensive review that the public is demanding.

2. We want something similar to the SAN FRANCISCO model of police review! Civilian police review should have the following characteristics. These measures may be difficult or inconvenient to implement, but that is not an acceptable reason to leave them out.

  • totally independent (outside of) of the police department.
  • led by civilians (appointed by BART directors).
  • hold regular public hearings.
  • perform regular audits, monitoring, reviewing the police department as a whole.
  • the ability to investigate independently, including the power to compel police testimony or the production of documents.
  • ability to compel disciplinary measures, including termination of officers.
  • issue a report at least once a year summarizing complaints filed, results of audits and statistics on arrests, use of force, contacts, also broken down by race.
  • submit investigations and recommend charges to the district attorney if criminal conduct on the part of the police is suspected.
3) If BART is to maintain a police force, the Chief of Police should report to a civilian police commission similar to the one in San Francisco. The Chief should be completely accountable (hired, fired, disciplined) by that commission or the Board of Directors. The Police Chief must not report to the General Manager.

4) BART is making statements in an attempt to recharacterize and limit the scope of the NOBLE contract before work begins. BART clearly doesn't want NOBLE, recently awarded the contract to do a top to bottom review of the BART Police Department to actually review or investigate the BART PD. Public statements made by BART indicate an expectation that NOBLE will primarily work to put a rubber stamp on civilian review and perhaps develop "sensitivity" workshops or other training/policy recommendations for BART PD.

The public demands that NOBLE perform the comprehensive review of the BART PD that they were hired to do. NOBLE should ask for more money if they need it (and they will). Their review must include:

1) Statistics on arrests, contacts, and use of force by BART police, especially broken down by race.

2) A comprehensive review of alternatives to BART PD. What would the financially and structural costs (savings) be for BART to be policed by agreements with municipal police departments, county sheriffs, or CHP, etc. What would the transition costs be? We will want this compared to the cost of implementing civilian review.

3) A detailed analysis and evaluation of the internal affairs investigations and management decisions that took place in response to the Jerrold Hall, Bruce Seward, and Oscar Grant cases.


Some useful BART Background Info and Facts:

- Chief Gee lied to the public and tried to cover up the truth. He avoided interviewing Mehserle deliberately to allow him to develop a defense. He purposefully ignored facts about the conduct of other officers and exonerated them all in a public statement, saying "“All of the other officers who responded to the incident at around 2:00 a.m. at the Fruitvale Station followed protocol and they performed their duties in a professional manner.” Gee asked officers to donate money to Mehserle and support him in jail, and lied to black clergy in a face to face meeting about it. He lied about the existence of video evidence of the murder and the contents of that video and he misrepresented the facts of the case before the public got ahold of the video evidence.

- Dorothy Dugger is the "CEO" of BART, she makes $320,000 a year, which is more than the Board of Directors COMBINED salaries. She truly runs the show, manipulates things behind the scenes. She lied to the Board on several occasions about the investigation into the shooting, which is one of the reasons that Directors Sweet and Radulovich want her removed. She is responsible for overseeing Chief Gee, and is entirely complicit in everything he has lied to the public about.

- Officers on the platform Jan 1st used profanity during the Grant incident, insulting their victims on the platform. Officers had no probable cause to detain Grant or his friends. Officers used force against Grant and his friends. Officers on the platform failed to call in the shooting or secure help for Oscar. Officers did not perform first aid on Grant. Some officers on the platform illegally confiscated cell phones and video from passengers. Officers arrested and illegally detained the victims of their assault.

- Oscar Grant was not the first unarmed black man killed by BART PD. There have been 3 that we know of. Noone has been disciplined. Everything has been covered up. For more details, read this:

- Chief Gee was chief when Bruce Seward was murdered in 2001. He and BART did nothing in response, exonerated the officer, and ignored the growing chorus of calls for civillian review of the Police from the public and members of the BART Board.

- BART has a problem with racial profiling. According to legal documents filed in a racial profiling lawsuit, statistics from 1995 to 2001 show that over HALF of all people BART PD arrests are African American. BART needs to compile and release full statistics, broken down by race, on police contacts, detentions, arrests, and use of force.