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I followed the postings here last night regarding the riots in my hometown, Oakland.  I originally posted the much commented diary with videos of the Oscar Grant shooting in Fruitvale BART.  
I was born and raised in East Oakland and witnessed many strange, bizarre, and just plain scary moments with police in my youth.  It wasn't until I finally met honest, decent cops that my faith was restored. There are many good cops out there who are people just like you and me.
Though I strongly support the message of protest, I can see no real lasting change from riots.
Riots do not make anybody listen, but they are signs of hopelessness and anger.
We are better to use anger not as bombs or fires, but as focused attacks that will truly bring justice and satisfaction.
Oakland Police Dept should have jurisdiction over BART police.
Bring Officer Mehserle to justice.  
It's real simple for us to do something MEANINGFUL about this.
Contact your public officials. (emails and contact below the fold)
They must bring criminal charges against Officer Mehserle and set up an independent investigator.
I'm not asking for convictions, I just want a fair trial by his peers.

Let your public officials know how you feel.
Contact Rep. Barbara Lee (510) 763-0370
Contact the Citizen Police Review Board 510.238.3159
Email Mayor Dellums ( and City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente (, Fruitvale is his district.  I'm working on BART contacts if you'd like to email.
Hit BART where it truly hurts them: the pocketbook.
I love public transit, so they better fix this soon.

Originally posted to LatinoDem on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 07:43 AM PST.


Want to organize boycott of BART?

62%10 votes
37%6 votes

| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Surely this is the Police's fault, not BART. (0+ / 0-)

    Boycotting public transportation in a time when we don't have enough of it as it is sounds like the wrong direction to move in...

    I understand that they were transit cops, but surely BART has no actual authority over them.

  •  Suggestions: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arken, justCal

    I don't know how BART Plice are commissioned in CA, but I suspect it works much as transit police do in other states.  Transit Police are multi-jurisdictional (usually all the municipalities/counties where the transit agency operates), and have all the usual police powers and rsponsibilities of a municipal force.  

    There are likely some practical operating procedures, like primary jurisdiction is to check fares, and deal with incidents on transit-agency owned properties (e.g., stations, parking lots, etc.).  Usually the transit agency does not have its own jail, but brings arrestees to the city or county jail until charges/disposition, or whatever the outcome is in the case of an actual arrest and detention.  I would point out that a transit officer should have a lot of the "people skills" that not all municipal officers are ususally in full possession of, since much of their job is interacting with the riding public.  "Course, that's in a perfect world.

    All that said, it is the BART Board of Directors (elected, not appointed in California, as I recall?) and its Executive Director which have supervisory, policy, and disciplinary responsibility over the police force.  Calling for the City of Oakland to have jurisdiction is not necessarily the right approach, since there may be a clear "joint-operating" and jurisdiction-type agreement in place between BART and the cities in its service area.  Depending on how the agreement or practical operating procedures work, Oakland may or may not have a call on responsibility for BART Police behavir.  In any case, it is the transit board who you should be concerned with, and most especially if they are directly elected.  If so, its members must be responsible to the electorate.  When's the next Board election, hmmmm?

    It would be interesting to see what the required training for BART officers is, and how it may differ from city cops (more people-skill training, less SWAT-team ?  I dunno).  Transit cops might sometimes be thought of as second-rate to their city brethren/sistern, but I can't prove that objectively.

    And all that said, of course whatever internal Review Board the transit agency has in place should be scrutinized closely and publicly.

    AND, having said all that, I suggest that vigorous and vocal but peaceful protest for accountability is the best first step.  Rioting, not so much.

    My unsolicited $.02.  Peace.

    Torture is Wrong! 10% of the US population on Food Stamps: help your food bank.

    by tom 47 on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 08:47:34 AM PST

    •  More on BART: (0+ / 0-)

      "The BART Board of Directors is comprised of nine elected officials from the nine BART districts. Board members serve a four-year term."

      BART PD:
      "The BART Police Department is comprised of 296 personnel, of which 206 are sworn peace officers anywhere in California. Chief of Police Gary Gee commands the department that is BART's sole law-enforcement entity and provides the full range of police services. To prepare for major emergencies, critical incidents, and tactical responses, the department is a signatory to the Bay Area's mutual-aid pacts and has teams of highly trained officers for tactical response and/or crisis negotiations."

      I neglected to point out that of course there is a security/safety component to transit police that is also a big part of what they do and are supposed to be trained for (anti-terrorism, vandalism to trains/buses, and everything in between).  Hmmm... maybe they've been emphasizing those skills, and neglecting the "people-skills" when Federal anti-terrorism money is available.  I dunno.

      The shooting remains a tragedy, and needs public airing and resolution.  And prevention of a repeat.

      Torture is Wrong! 10% of the US population on Food Stamps: help your food bank.

      by tom 47 on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 08:56:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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