BART completes shooting investigation

January 13, 2009 12:37:38 PM PST
Bay Area Rapid Transit officials say they've completed their internal investigation of the New Year's Day fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

BART wrapped up its investigation into the New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant. Included in the report, is a statement from the officer involved. That officer, Johannes Mehserle, refused to speak to investigators.

The BART of Directors voted unanimously to create a sub-committee that will oversee all issues for BART. It was a meeting like many others where tensions were extremely high, and it ended with one member of the BART board saying that she plans to formally ask the BART general manager and police chief to resign.

"Enough is enough. Take it to the Feds," said Oakland business owner Frank Tucker.

That was the call for BART's board of directors today from some angry community leaders and even BART employees.

"I'm ashamed as a BART employee to stand here to address my leaders," said BART station agent Connie Rainey.

As promised, BART'S Board voted to create a sub-committee to oversee police issues in the wake of the shooting death of Oscar Grant.

"Tragic though it was this incident should not be the sole reflection of BART police or the BART organization," said BART Board President Thomas Blalock.

But for many, the move still is not enough.

"It wasn't an accident. It was murder and it should be treated as such," said Oakland resident Alphonso Galloway.

BART's general manager Dorothy Dugger announced the transit agency concluded its own internal investigation into the New Year's morning shooting at the Fruitvale BART station.

The results of that investigation handed over to the Alameda County's District Attorney to decide whether to file criminal charges against Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the force last week after refusing to talk with investigators.

"We urge the District Attorney to expeditiously review all of that evidence and to bring this investigation to a conclusion as rapidly as possible," said Dugger.

BART Police Chief Gary Gee said Mehserle exercised his Fifth Amendment rights that night. Investigators have interviewed more than 40 people since the shooting, including the officers also at the Fruitvale station that night, but he refused to say what conclusions, if any, BART's investigators reached.

"Until the DA has a chance to review all the facts and evidence and make a decision, we are going to respect the DA's ability," said Chief Gee.

The DA said its investigation will take about two weeks and it will likely conclude sometime next week. The U.S. Department of Justice confirms it sent officials whose expertise is resolving and preventing racial conflict to Oakland to meet with local law enforcement and African-American community leaders.

Click here to read ABC7's live blog from the press conference.