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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Release Bay Area Rioters!

BART Board of Directors
P.O. Box 12688
Oakland , CA 94604-2688
(510) 464-6095
BoardofDirectors@bart.gov

c/o Kenneth A. Duron
District Secretary
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
300 Lakeside Drive, 23rd Floor, Oakland, California 94612
510.464.6080, fax: 510.464.6011
“Kduron” Kduron@bart.gov

To Directors: Carole Ward Allen, Bob Franklin, Joel Keller, Gail Murray, John McPartland, Thomas Blalock, Lynette Sweet, James Fang, Tom Radulovich

Thursday, January 08, 2009
RE: Release Rioters Immediately

Dear Kenneth A. Duron & BART Directors:

We contacted your office on yesterday about the unprovoked shooting of 22-year old Oscar Grant in Fruitvale, Lake Merritt & 12th Street Station in Oakland. We read the response from BART Police Chief Gary Gee. His condolences to the family and the initiation of an investigation are inadequate, in light of the live camera videos of the shooting.

There is prima facie evidence, by these videos, that shows Officer Johannes Mehserle shot a defenseless man in the back while he was constrained.

[See video]

There is a compelling probable cause that the officer murdered the victim. As you know this video was offered to the police department investigators. Instead of immediately arresting the officer, BART put him in hiding.



The riots were a direct response to the department’s reaction. We are not seeking lynch mob justice before due process run its course. But due process is far off course. Sometimes people riot in order to bring the world’s attention to a major injustice.

If you can watch this video also and come away feeling that your department acted appropriately, do realize there is a strong possibility the unrest will continue, and more arrests is not the solution. The city has brought this curse upon itself.



Sincerely,
Eddie Griffin (BASG)


From: Kduron@bart.gov
Subject: Re: Unprovoked Shooting of Oscar Grant
To: eddiegriffin_basg@yahoo.com
Date: Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 4:28 PM

Mr. Griffin,

Thank you for your email. Your message will be shared with the Board of Directors as requested.

The following is a link to the District's webpage with news releases/video regarding the officer involved shooting on January 1, 2009.

http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2009.aspx

Thank you for taking the time to advise us of your concerns.

Kenneth A. Duron
District Secretary
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
300 Lakeside Drive, 23rd Floor, Oakland, California 94612
510.464.6080, fax: 510.464.6011, email: kduron@bart.gov
website: www.bart.gov

01.04.2009
Statement by BART Police Chief Gary Gee

to Media & Public on 1/4/09 During News Conference

On behalf of the BART Police Department and the entire BART organization, we want to express our condolences to the family of Oscar Grant.

I want to assure Mr. Grant's family and the public that we are taking this investigation very seriously. And, we are committed to complete an unbiased and thorough investigation into what happened on the morning of New Year's Day.

In addition to our investigation, we are fully cooperating with the Alameda County District Attorney's office, which is conducting a parallel and independent investigation. We are providing all of the evidence of our investigation to the District Attorney.

This case is not even four days old – we are in the early stages of the investigation and will do a thorough job. We are reviewing all of the evidence, including videos, witness statements, and physical evidence as we compile a complete and accurate account of what happened on in the early morning of January First.
As frustrating as it is, I want to stress that we cannot and will not jeopardize this case by discussing details before the investigation is complete.

While some have already begun to draw conclusions and speculate about what happened well before all the facts are in, doing so may compromise independent recollections from witnesses and does a disservice to getting at the answers we are seeking.
We continue to ask people to come forward if they have any evidence or eyewitness accounts. They can call our tip line at (877) 679-7000, extension 7040. Or, they wish to present their information directly to the Alameda County DA's office. The DA's general number is (510) 272-6222.

We ask for the public to be patient, refrain from jumping to conclusions, and allow the investigators do their jobs. As has been previously said, there is very little information that can be released at this time. I can, however, provide some basic facts.

We are investigating an incident early New Year's Day at the Fruitvale BART Station in which Mr. Grant was fatally wounded.

The involved officer is a two-year veteran of the BART Police force. That officer underwent drug and alcohol testing and is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

The incident began when BART police received a report that two groups of riders were involved in an altercation on a train after it left West Oakland Station around 2 a.m. BART police officers responded to the platform at Fruitvale and detained several persons. Our preliminary investigation indicates that Mr. Grant was not in handcuffs at the time of the shooting.

I cannot tell you when this investigation will be completed. But, again, I assure you that we are committed to conducting an accurate and thorough investigation.
We recognize that it is frustrating that we cannot answer many of your questions right now – but doing so could lead to speculation and compromise the integrity of the ongoing investigations.

Again, we ask for your patience and I thank you for coming.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009

BART Board of Directors
P.O. Box 12688
Oakland , CA 94604-2688
(510) 464-6095
BoardofDirectors@bart.gov

RE: Unprovoked Shooting of Oscar Grant

Directors: Carole Ward Allen, Bob Franklin, Joel Keller, Gail Murray,
John McPartland, Thomas Blalock, Lynette Sweet, James Fang, Tom Radulovich

Dear Ms. Allen & other Board Members:

The stories surrounding the shooting of Oscar Grant is so appalling, it has attracted our attention and the attention of the world community. We realize, from news reports, Police Chief Gary Gee is still investigating. But from all accounts, it appears that Mr. Grand was shot in the back while lying on the ground in handcuffs.

I am even more hurt and outraged when I read Oscar’s memorial guest book at

http://www.legacy.com/InsideBayArea/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=122109243

How can you allow this incident to happen on your watch? You have oversight authority. And, there are many questions yet unanswered.

We have heard the cry of the blood of the innocent coming out of the bowels of the earth: “How long, O Lord?”

How long?

Signed
Eddie Griffin, BASG

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