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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Town Hall Invites and Questions BART Cops, Oakland, 3/14/09: photos and audio
BART Board Director Bob Franklin and five BART police officers were invited to speak at this week's Town Hall. The visit was described by Bob Franklin as BART's attempt to open lines of communication and begin to repair relations with the community, especially Oakland's African American community. They took questions from attendees for about an hour and forty minutes.
The BART police largely defended the Police Bill of Rights, as well as their existence as the police agency for the transit system and their use of weapons, but they did concede that some form of civilian oversight was appropriate as well as increased training for officers.
Pastor Deon was the first to speak and led into the reasons the BART police and BART Director of the Board Bob Franklin were invited to the Town Hall, namely to speak to the Police Officers Bill of Rights in California and to take questions, as long as they all committed to following through and returning for future Town Halls.
Approximately first half of Pastor Deon's talk is missing here. All apologies.
The organizers of the Town Halls for justice were not ready to proceed with their Recall Orloff campaign this week.
March 7th Town Hall coverage: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/03/12/18576681.php
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland
Bob Franklin (far right) made a statement, then introduced BART police Commander Gibson (to his right), President of BART Police Manager's Association Gregg Savage, member of BART Police Manager's Association Frank Lucerelli, President of the BART Police Officer's Association Jesse Sekhon, and officer Mark Brookes.
After handing out blue, pocket-sized, abridged versions of the Police Bill of Rights, and full-length print-out copies, the BART police offered their justifications for why such extraordinary protections exist for police officers in the state of California.
In the question and answer period, which dominated this week's meeting, many issues with BART and BART police were brought to the surface, from the historic disruption of Oakland's African American neighborhoods with the initial construction of the BART system to the two previous murders of unarmed passengers by the BART police (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/02/17/18571372.php). They were asked about BART Police Chief Gary Gee's memo directing officer support to Johannes Mehserle when Mehserle was temporarily in custody for the murder of Oscar Grant and if they themselves had donated to or visited Johannes Mehserle while he was in jail. They said that while testing was done for other drugs, there is currently no testing of BART police officers for steroids.
The Police Bill of Rights, Copley, and Where We Are Today in CA with Police Accountability: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/02/25/18573293.php
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