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In wake of shooting, BART board meeting a venting event

By queen
Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 5:27 pm in Misc. Transportation.

“For God’s sake, could you at least apologize?”
For six hours, members of the community harangued the nine members of BART’s Board of Directors for what they described as stonewalling, covering up and remaining silent about the officer-involved shooting New Year’s Day that left Oscar Grant III dead.
Though speakers were supposed to be limited to three minutes, the board allowed them to talk pretty much until they wore out. And as the six-hour meeting progressed, eventually every individual member of the board made an apology – the public apology community members sought.
“I have five sons,” one man told the board. “They are straight-A students. What am I supposed to tell them about authority (in light of this action)?”
The board agreed to set up a board committee to review police procedures and consider the possibility of creating a BART civilian police review board. BART director Carole Ward Allen, who represents the Fruitvale area where Grant was shot, revealed plans to set up a community meeting in the near future so BART riders can continue the dialogue with BART representatives.
The meeting’s agenda was originally devoted to other matters, but was changed to accommodate the outcry. For that reason, because the public had not been given notice, under the Brown Act the board was unable to make any definite decisions. But action on the three pledges will probably start next week.
As the meeting wore on, businesses in downtown Oakland instructed employees to leave early and closed their doors before 5 p.m., fearing another riot like the one Wednesday night in which the Fox Theater was damaged.

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