Firm hired to investigate BART shooting

February 11, 2009 6:30:34 PM PST
BART board members announced they hired an outside law firm to investigate the actions of officers in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed man at an Oakland BART station on New Year's Day.

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BART officials said that turning over its internal affairs investigation to an outside agency. They said it was necessary to do in order to gain public confidence in the wake of the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant.

BART will pay the Oakland-based law firm Meyers Nave about $150,000. It's a firm BART says has extensive experience in conducting internal affairs investigations.

The firm expects to conclude its investigation within three months. It will focus its inquiry on all the BART police officers who were on the Fruitvale station platform during the shooting.

Investigators will re-interview all of the 40 known witnesses, and review all cell phone video that captured it.

The findings will be turned over to BART, and depending on the results of the investigation, the firm could recommend the officers be fired.

The internal affairs investigation will run parallel to the agency's own criminal investigation into the officers' actions during the shooting.

Bart board member Carole Ward Allen heads the agency's police review committee.

"We are serious about getting to the bottom of what happened on New Year's Day. We want to know everything that happened on that platform, not just the shooting itself," said Ward Allen.

"The results of the criminal investigation will be delivered to a charging attorney in the District Attorney's office to determine if any of the actions by the six police officers rises to the level of prosecutable conduct," said BART Board Member Joel Keller.

BART says it also plans to call on law enforcement experts to conduct a top to bottom review of all BART police policies.

Those experts should be named in a few weeks, and the agency's police review committee also is looking into establishing a citizen police review committee of its police force.

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