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BART Board Meeting Police-Related Matters - No Mobile Phone Policy, Indybay Arrest, 9/22/11: audio
by dave id
Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 12:18 PM
On September 22nd at BART's most recent meeting of its board of directors -- despite having an open investigation into the July BART police killing of Charles Hill and the string of protests since -- police-related matters were barely on the agenda. BART's new general manager Grace Crunican mentioned the upcoming hearing of the State Assembly Committee on Public Safety on BART police issues. Citizen Review Board chair George Perezvelez gave a presentation to the board regarding mobile antenna shut-down recommendations, although the board seemed disinterested in actually establishing a policy. And this reporter utilized the public comment period at the end of the meeting to notify the board about BART police deputy chief Dan Hartwig having wrongfully targeted me for arrest at a protest on September 8th. BART police chief Kenton Rainey disingenuously responded to my comment by insinuating that I had been acting like a protester at the demonstration and only claimed to be a journalist to avoid the consequences of my actions. [Audio below]

During her report to the board, new general manager Grace Crunican mentioned the upcoming hearing of the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety called by Assembly member and committee chair Tom Ammiano in order to examine BART's progress on addressing issues raised in the 2009 NOBLE report and more recent BART police misconduct.

BART's new Citizen Review Board chair George Perezvelez gave a presentation to BART's board of directors on CRB recommendations regarding shutting down of mobile phone antennas. The board had directed the CRB to look at the issue and make recommendations, yet now BART directors seemed largely disinterested in following through with the creation of a formal policy. Director Joel Keller suggested that everyone could "slow down" at this point and director Lynette Sweet suggested that a policy may not even be needed. Current board president Bob Franklin did say that BART has consulted with the ACLU, the FCC, and the CPUC on the matter.

After sitting patiently through three hours of BART board business on issues largely unrelated to their police department, the floor was finally opened up to public comment. I was the last of three speakers called and I used my time to formally notify the board of BART police's illegal arrest of me at the demonstration on September 8th. I stated that I was still facing a court date in October for the charge of having violated California Penal Code 369i. I let the board know that I had filed a complaint through their new police Auditor, although because the complaint did not involved violence or racism, or four other criteria mandating an Auditor investigation, BART PD alone would be investigating its own role in my wrongful arrest. Under their new police oversight schema, the new Citizen Review Board would not even be involved because their only role in complaints is to review investigations conducted by the Auditor. I drew attention to statements made by deputy chief Hartwig and spokesperson Jim Allison that seemed directed toward justifying my wrongful arrest, namely by referring to "legitimate" reporters and reporters with "agendas." At the conclusion of my remarks, directory Tom Radulovich said that he had gotten an internal BART email with language about "legitimate" journalists that he found troubling. Radulovich said that policy regarding journalists needed to be clarified. He added that while the CRB would be outside of the complaint process in this instance, the CRB could take up the issue as a matter of police policy and practice. Director Sweet called chief Rainey to explain what 369i was and as to whether he was aware of my complaint. Rainey said he was aware of my complaint but could not discuss it because the it was under investigation. Sweet pressed Rainey further, in that he could discuss policy related to police interactions with the press. Rainey said that BART police have a "general order" governing how they handle the media, that they wanted reporters to be credentialed with credentials prominently displayed. As is typical when internal police "investigations" into police wrongdoing are underway, Rainey said he couldn't comment on the investigation itself, and in no way would publicly question the actions of his officers, but it was apparently acceptable for him to besmirch the victim/complainant with innuendo. Without prompting, and not in direct response to anything he was asked by the board, Rainey stated that "members of the media cannot be part of the protest, and then when a problem arises and police action is about to be taken, you can't jump back to the other side of the line and say, 'Now I'm a journalist.' I'm not saying that's what happened in Mr. Morse's case, I don't know. The investigation has not been completed. Not to mention, as he said, he has a court date pending, so a lot of this stuff is forthcoming and will be looked at very, very thoroughly." Slick, huh? So, he can't discuss the investigation, but the one thing he can say about the my complaint is that they are investigating me and my role as a journalist, perhaps hoping to find evidence that I was acting as a protester on September 8th. Never mind that, on different grounds, the detention and arrests of protesters was unfounded and illegal as well.



This reporter's notes for public comment to BART board of directors (actual comment in audio below varies somewhat):


Hello. My name is David and I report for Indybay.org. Many if not all of you know who I am and are familiar with my reporting. Not to toot my own horn, but just to be clear, I have written definitive reports on NOBLE, Meyers Nave, the Citizen Review Board, and many other issues at BART.

Dan Hartwig recently asserted that he didn't want to give the impression that BART wants to restrict the ability to demonstrate or to report the news. I beg to differ. I seriously beg to differ.

I was arrested on September 8th, held in handcuffs for three hours, and transported to SF County jail, despite having done nothing different than I had at BART protests in the past, despite the fact that I was there as a journalist, covering the demonstration with two cameras in my hands and my Indybay press pass around neck, and despite the fact that I was doing nothing different than any other journalist there. Yet I was the very first person arrested on September 8th.

It wasn't an accident that I was arrested either. As I was standing within the detainment circle with dozens of journalists and protesters, Dan Hartwig pointed me out for arrest to Officer Coduti. Coduti apparently knows me as a journalist because after he handcuffed me, he asked if I was "Dave Id" which is the well-known nom de plume I use only in relation to my reporting. Dan Hartwig definitely knows who I am after seeing me report on countless board meetings, subcommittee meetings, and, yes, protests over the last three years. As many of you are aware, my reporting is generally critical of BART, but that doesn't give your police the right to arrest me.

I had the opportunity to object to my arrest with Dan Hartwig while I was in handcuffs for hours in your Powell Street station and Hartwig didn't dispute my being a journalist. He told me that journalists can be arrested too, if they break the law, and I responded that he knew damned well that I hadn't broken the law.

At a press conference held during the time I was handcuffed, Hartwig and Jim Allison made references to "legitimate" reporters and Allison later made a remark about reporters with "agendas". BART doesn't get to pick between good and bad reporters.

I have filed a complaint regarding my arrest with your new police Auditor, Mark Smith, but the way your system works, the Auditor only conducts independent investigations for a limited number of cases, namely those that involve police violence or racism, so my complaint will only be investigated by your unaccountable police force with the final decision on a complaint against your deputy chief to be decided by the chief. And they have a full year to bury this.

Honestly, I'm afraid of further retaliation for my reporting on BART issues. Is this a new precedent being set that your deputy chief or any other officer will just grab me and arrest me whoever they may be losing their cool at a demonstration? I still have my 369i charge and have a court date in October. I am greatly concerned that there is support for unconstitutional actions by your police, on this board, in your administration, and across your police force.

My arrest was illegal. The handcuffing of corporate reporters and then telling them later that they were not arrested but detained was illegal. Requesting that SFPD revoke SF press badges was unheard of, and an embarrassment to SFPD when they realized that BART PD had misled them into doing that. Detaining dozens of journalists and protesters without a dispersal order, in your so-called free speech zone, was illegal. Arresting people for speaking out on BART platforms is illegal.

Note that protesters have not disrupted or attempted to disrupt trains except for in April 2010 and July 11th, 2011. All of the station closures have been done by BART. I saw the Powell Street station closed once in August of this year because five protesters were doing nothing more than handing out fliers. I can prove that if you doubt me.

It's time for the illegal behavior in BART's police department to stop. The agency should not be sending out emails asking for constitutional and unconstitutional solutions to demonstrations. There's obviously a culture of anything goes in your police department, and your public relations department. I don't see this board addressing that with any vigor. It shouldn't take civil suits to get BART to follow the law. The board clearly should direct the agency to follow the law. Your general counsel is not reliable in that regard.

There is an urgency with anti-protest legislation, AB 716, yet BART always urges the public to be patient with the process on police killings and beatings, and there is never any accountability. (Tony Pirone and Marysol Domenici are still on the force and the board seeks no creative solutions for their removal.) Where's the motivation there? I see none.

Lastly, Bob Franklin, from recent statements you've made to the corporate media, it seems that your best hope regarding protests is apathy or exhaustion on the part of those who would stand up and vocally resist your dangerous and unaccountable police department. That's just sad. Hoping people won't care might be convenient to you and the board but it will be bad for people of color, the poor, and other so-called marginalized peoples who ride BART.



Indybay Journalist Arrested at #NoFare BART Protest in Powell Street Station, 9/8/11: photos
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/09/12/18690043.php



For more information:
§Audio from BART Board meeting items related to police matters
by dave id Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 12:19 PM
Listen now:
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bart_boardmeeting-092211_policematterexcerpts.mp3 11.7MB

(audio 34:03)

Audio here only includes sections of the BART board meeting dealing with police-related matters. General manager Grace Crunican's notification about the hearing in Sacramento is approximately thirty seconds long. That is followed in the audio here by the Citizen Review Board section of the board meeting. This reporter's comment begins at 21:54. The sections included are separated by three-second intervals of silence.

BART's video of the entire board meeting can be found at http://bart.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=704
§New BART General Manager Grace Crunican
by dave id Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 12:19 PM
bart-board-meeting_092211-04.jpg
bart-board-meeting_092211...


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by dave id
Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 2:52 PM

(15-page PDF)
by AxiomOfDeterminacy
Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 3:43 PM
Marysol Domenici is _no longer_ on the force, having been fired in 2010.
Oh sorry are facts too 'corporate media' for you?
Monday Dec 20th, 2010 10:04 AM

Last week an officer who blatantly lied under oath was given her job back.. We’re talking about Marysol Domenici who was one of the first officers to on the scene at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, January 1 2009 when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back by convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle.

Domenici was fired after an independent investigating law firm Meyers Nave concluded she had lied about what took place the night of Grant’s murder. Domenici who had been on 15 months paid leave at the time of her firing, appealed via arbitration with the ruling she be immediately reinstated with back pay. The arbitrator, William Riker insisted that the prior investigation was flawed and that he saw no evidence that Domenici was untruthful.
by sorry bro
Thursday Sep 29th, 2011 6:07 PM
but good thing you came here without the facts, bro, cuz we gon make sure you leave with them, bro
by now law in California
Tuesday Jun 5th, 2012 7:33 PM
AB 716 (Dickinson)

Transit districts: prohibition orders: Sacramento Regional Transit District: Fresno Area Express: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.

(1)Existing law makes a person guilty of a misdemeanor if the person enters or remains upon any rail transit-related property, as defined, owned or operated by a county transportation commission or transportation authority without permission or whose entry, presence, or conduct upon the property interferes with, interrupts, or hinders the safe and efficient operation of the railline or rail-related facility.

This bill would instead make it a misdemeanor if a person enters or remains upon any transit-related property, as defined, that is used to provide public transportation by rail or passenger bus, without permission or whose entry, presence, or conduct upon the property interferes with, interrupts, or hinders the safe and efficient operation of the railline or rail-related or transit-related facility.

(2)Existing law authorizes a local or regional transit agency or a joint powers agency operating rail service to contract with designated persons to act as its agent in the enforcement of specified provisions relative to certain prohibited acts on or in public transportation systems or vehicles if the persons satisfy specified training requirements.

This bill would authorize the governing board of the Sacramento Regional Transit District to designate persons regularly employed by the district as inspectors or supervisors to enforce those provisions or any ordinance that is adopted by the district relative to prohibited acts on or in public transportation systems or vehicles, if the persons satisfy specified training requirements. The bill would make changes to cross-references in these provisions. The bill would also delete similar provisions that authorize the board to designate persons to enforce district ordinances and specified state laws, but which do not require the persons to satisfy the training requirements described above.

(3)Existing law prohibits certain acts by a person with respect to the property, facilities, or vehicles of a transit district. A violation is an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $75 on a first offense, or a fine not exceeding $250 or by community service on a subsequent offense.

Existing law, until January 1, 2012, authorizes the Sacramento Regional Transit District and the Fresno Area Express to issue a prohibition order to any person cited for committing one or more of certain prohibited acts in specified transit facilities, including, among other things, if a person has been cited on at least 3 separate occasions, within a period of 60 days, for specified infractions committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail station of the transit district. Existing law prohibits a person subject to a prohibition order from entering the property, facilities, or vehicles of the transit district for specified periods of time up to one year. Existing law establishes notice requirements in that regard and provides for initial and administrative review of the order.

This bill would remove the January 1, 2012, repeal date for these provisions and would make these provisions operative indefinitely. The bill would authorize the Sacramento Regional Transit District, the Fresno Area Express, and, until January 1, 2015, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, to issue a prohibition order to a person who has been cited on at least 3 separate occasions, within a period of 90 days, for specified infractions committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or train or light rail station of the transit district.

(4)A violation of a prohibition order is punishable as an infraction. By extending the operative period of a crime, and by expanding the scope of existing crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
by Shawn Gaynor, SFBG
Tuesday Jun 5th, 2012 7:34 PM
Legislation currently before California Governor Jerry Brown would allow Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to ban passengers who have been convicted of a crime committed while on BART property. Written into a renewal of legislation for existing transit rules in the Sacramento area, the bill being considered by Governor Brown, AB 716, would make it an infraction to return to BART stations or use the regional transit system for up to one year.

“BART seeks whatever legal solutions we can to keep our passengers safe. There are dangerous people who are attracted to these public places. For example, we had a stabbing at the gates of Balboa station on the 8th of September,” BART spokesperson Luna Salaver told the Guardian. “This is something that BART can use as a tool.”

BART denied any connection between the wave of recent protests and the addition of BART to the bill renewal of AB 716. The BART Board of Directors began pursuing their inclusion into the legislation this spring, and addressed the issue at its June 9 board meeting -- before frequent protests began over the July 3 shooting death of Charles Hill by BART police at Civic Center Station.

However, if passed, the resulting ordinance could be applied to protesters, some of whom have been arrested during civil disobedience that has caused rush hour service disruptions of BART's operations, and others who have been arrested in official free speech areas while not directly contributing to a disruption in service.

With some 350,000 people passing through turnstiles each weekday, BART does not believe it can easily prevent everyone who is cited from re-entering BART, but says it will serve as an additional tool if a person is re-encountered by BART police. While a fine of $75 on the first offense may not be enough on its own to act as a deterrent, infractions to the law could be examined as probation or parole violations and subsequent infractions carry heavier fines.

“It would be preferable if these types of conditions were set by a judge as a condition of probation,” said Michael Rifher, staff attorney ACLU of Northern California. “These types of ordinances imposing 'stay away' orders without judicial oversight are an area that is very open to abuse.”

Specifics on how the new law would be enforced are not in place yet, and will be developed by BART if the bill receives Gov. Brown's signature.

“If the bill passes the Governor's desk, BART will still have to go through its own process to implement it as an ordinance,” said Salaver. “This is something BART can uses as a tool but it will not likely be invoked automatically.”

Rifher says the underlying legislation does go further to protect free speech and the rights of the disabled than many examples of “stay away” legislation. For example, according to the text of the legislation, someone banned from riding BART or entering the station would still be allowed to “engage in activities that are protected under the laws of the United States or of California, including, but not limited to, picketing, demonstrating, or distributing handbills.”

In discussing the process of implementing an ordinance, BART said it would invite people from the disabled community, who may have special concerns about the formation of BART's policy, to participate.

Sources familiar with the bill say it is unclear whether Governor Brown plans to sign the legislation.