How many more people have to die before BART gets its act together?

TAKEN FROM THE SF BAY GUARDIAN EDITORIAL 1/7/09

"... The structure of the BART police force is a recipe for disaster. BART's general manager, (who is not an elected official and has no expertise in law enforcement) hires the BART police chief, who then runs a force with some 200 armed officers. There is no police commission, no police review board, not even a committee of the elected BART board designated to handle complaints against and issues with the BART police.

The BART board holds no regular hearings on police activity or conduct. There is no public forum where the chief is held to account. There is no procedure for complaints against BART officers to be heard and adjudicated by anyone except the BART police.

There is, in other words, no civilian oversight or accountability. This is unacceptable.

The killing of Oscar Grant isn't an isolated case. Back in 1992, a BART cop pulled a shotgun and killed an unarmed man named Jerrold Hall. Hall wasn't threatening the officer or anyone else. He was walking away. The shotgun pellets hit him in the back of the head. The officer, Fred Crabtree, was never subject to any discipline, and BART tried to cover up the whole thing (see "Lethal force," 12/9/92). In 2001, a BART cop shot an unarmed naked man who was seriously mentally ill (see "Gun crazy," 10/17/01).

The BART Board simply can't let this continue.

The board must immediately create a process for civilian oversight of the BART police, including a civilian monitor to handle complaints. The BART board must establish a permanent police oversight committee that meets regularly to hear public comments and monitor police practices. Every city that BART passes through, starting with San Francisco, should pass a resolution demanding accountability for the BART cops, and the state Legislature (which granted the BART police peace officer status in 1976) should pass a measure mandating that the BART police have civilian oversight proceedings.

We're sick of this. How many more people have to die before BART gets its act together? "

Forums: 

Stop posting stuff like this please.

"We're sick of this. How many more people have to die before BART gets its act together?"

Huh? Oscar Grant WAS an extremely isolated and unfortunate incident. Articles like this (and the people that post them) make it seem like civilians are dying at the hands of BART cops on a monthly basis. Like BART police is a rouge unit that is just going out and terrorizing the general public.

I know this is a sensitive issue, but we don't need the dramatics.

i'm not trying to dramatize the issue anymore than it is, just simply putting it out there that this is not the first incident where a BART police officer has shot and killed an unarmed man when the situation did not call for deadly force. I do not think it will be the last time unless something is done about it.

Do they really need guns anyway? They have tazers, dogs, clubs, (and hopefully good training) and each city's law enforcement to back them up.

I know they are not a rogue unit out to terrorize the public, but i would not consider them to be a competent police force after the way they have handled this incident and the past incidents that i have witnessed or heard of.

I'm not trying to step on toes, but as far as i am concerned they are a trumped up private security agency.

Why aren't they trained more in martial arts? If a 9-year-old boy (see link below) can put a choke hold on a pitbull without harming it, why can't the cops do the same without using deadly force?

http://www.bakersfield.com/102/story/655900.html

TreoBART's picture

Cops have a lot of hand to hand training and the vast majority of the time they can use simple techniques to subdue the person. BUT... it doesn't make any sense at all to tell someone they must put themselves in the way of a deadly weapon like a knife, sword, gun, etc. Would you choose go try to run up and snatch a gun or knife from someone openly hostile to you? I don't think so.

saw1972 :

I posted some Suggested Reading in my blog in the hope that it would help people like you put things in perspective .

It's a legitimate question. I don't think guns should be taken away nor did I ever say that. Really, how many hours are spent in martial arts in a police academy? And why does my question warrant your tirade? Perhaps you are the one who needs to get a grip on reality. Just because I have a view different from yours doesn't make that wrong. Doesn't that make you a little egocentric?

Your comment makes it clear that you have never trained in martial arts, otherwise you'd realize that even well-trained martial artists would avoid taking on a person faced with a firearm. I've trained and taught martial-arts for over ten years, and my advice on fighting against weapons has not changed: Avoid it. Unarmed hand-to-hand versus a knife or a gun will just lead to you being injured or killed, and is generally not worth it.

Being trained in performing a "choke hold" is no guarantee that it would be applicable in every situation. Would you like to try and put a choke hold on someone who is facing you with a firearm drawn? I'd bet you'd rather have a firearm yourself in that situation. The fact that a 9-year-old boy put a dog in a choke hold is a random combination of luck and lack of viciousness of the dog. That sort of thing can't be applied generally to everyone.

Mr. Grant was not armed! But my question has still not been answered. How much hand-to-hand combat training do police officers receive at the academy?

TreoBART's picture

60 Hours spread out over 20 weeks or more depending on the department. Minimum standards of training are here under "Regular Basic Course Minimum Hourly Requirements". It's #33 on the list.

http://www.post.ca.gov/training/bt_bureau/TrainingSpecs/Regular.asp

i agree that they should review the issuing of firearms to BART police. They are real officer's and I don't doubt their competence, even in light of this whole NYE business. However, the possibility of discharging a firearm, even when acceptable, on a crowded BART platform seems very high risk to innocent bystanders. This is a hard question and can't have reactive answers just because of the most recent incident.

Police without guns? That would be strange.. Do you want the SWAT team carry sticks too? LOL.

Then there is the jurisdiction issues.. Do want city police to have jurisdiction on BART? Or CHP? Maybe CHP since they are our state cops.

BART Police have jurisdiction in all bay area counties and cities, they are more like CHP than a City cop... Lets take guns away from CHP, they dont need them. They are like transit cops for the road.. Don't they just write tickets?

California is funny about gun control. seems most people don't believe in the right to bear arms (or they want to tell you what type of gun you want to own.). Next take guns from the police.. LOL
Or be like the UK..

I am amused.. Most ridiculous item of the day..

I am all for gun ownership, and would probably end up wanting BART Police to carry firearms. However, one must also take into consideration all of the ramifications that come with firing a hand gun on a crowded BART platform (just the same as you would need to think about police performing crowd control duties carrying anything but less than deadly force weapons). My thoughts have nothing to do with the Oscar Grant incident, and I probably have put them in a different post.

If you are ever driving and BART Police pulls you over for speeding, PLEASE tell him that. Let me know how that works out for you.. (grin)

tell them what, that people should think about the level of force they think they should empower the police with? Once anyone mentions gun control, some moron always has to spout off about the US turning into the UK.

Shrapnel's picture

I agree with the poster who stated that this has to be the most ridiculous topic of the day.

I believe anyone that does not have a criminal record should be able to have weapons (Right to bear arms does not mean allow only BB guns). Criminals should not. Right now, I feel like I cannot purchase the product I want. People who break the law, of course, will break the law and have guns.

Police should have deadly force available at the ready anytime they feel someone or themselves are in life threatening danger.

Citizens should be able to carry a weapon unconcealed. Store owners should be able to use a weapon if in life threatening danger.
I also like the way Texas allows citizens to use their gun if someone treaspasses. "Get off my property, No? Don't threaten me" bang! problem solved, taxpayer money saved.

They are fully accredited peace officers of the state of California, and thus can enforce law like any other police officer. It's unfair to ask whether a peace officer requires a gun, especially when so much of the general public possess weapons far more destructive than a handgun.

Aqualung,

You're sounding more and more ignorant with every post.

BART PD is a trumped up security force to you huh. BPD receives the same training as Alameda county sheriffs and policemen/women because they attend the same police academy.

Ignorants like you don't realize that BPD is a real police force with real officers with real police training. Only difference between them and let's say the san Leandro police is that SL cops patrol the city of San Leandro. Well, with BPD, the whole system is their city. That trumped up security force has the authority to write you a real trumped up ticket, since they have authority throughout the state, and will take you on a ride to trumped Santa Rita in a minute.

they can't take someone to santa rita jail. they have to drop their arrested or detained persons to a city jail. the city cop would then decide on their fate. bpd usually marks up all kinds of charges on the perp that for the most part get dropped and laughed at by the DA in that county.

i know this from experience. say what you want. call me some liberal cop hating ignorant criminal, just take the bpd dick out of your mouth when you do.

Another internet gangster talking tough behind a computer.

If BPD arrests you in Dublin where would they take you?

When you get out of school tomorrow and can come up with something original to say, please rejoin the discussion.

You know it from experience? I believe that..

Oh since you are so bright, where would they take you if you are anywhere in unincorporated Alameda County?

(Shhh, No one tell him it's Santa Rita Jail.. The liberal cop hating ignorant criminal is seeing imaginary dicks)
I can't call you that.. It's takes to long to type.. LOL .. If it wasn't such a sad subject, the banter would be entertaining..

I clapped and yelled out when I hear they hunted down this little bastard Mehserle. I have such a hard time believing the bullshit! Who would dare sympathize with the cop? blame it on people yelling on the platform...?? um hello, training? That's what the police job requirement is all about, training, moderation, respect and service to the community, not shooting first and then realizing that you just killed someone. And according to the records this is the 3rd time in history bart police have been responisble for killing unarmed people. Bart police are not supposed to be Mafia, Militia, or organized gang units, they are pretty much just security officers for the train, you know to make sure kids don't spill soda or put gum under the seats. Why not just have real police on the train, who have to answer to real higher ups. I don't hate all cops, just the power of deadly force they can use without justification.

Hey Mehserle, have fun in San Quintin, oh and watch your back.