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No Justice No BART Takes Over BART Board Meeting, Oakland, 4/9/09: audio
No Justice No BART is an ad hoc alliance of family members of victims of BART police actions on January 1st, community members, and activists working together to confront BART until demands are met for justice for Oscar Grant and the wider community. On Thursday, April 9th, shortly after a scheduled BART Board meeting began, NJNB demonstrators asserted their collective standing, having turned in over 20 speaker cards for public comment, and assumed control of the agenda for the meeting, which previously had been set to cover the raising of BART fares and the reducing of train service later this year. Demonstrators rose from their chairs and gathered around the speakers' podium, taking turns voicing their objections to the lack of accountability and the apparent cover-up attempts at BART regarding the murder of Oscar Grant. BART's many failures were recounted, including the offensive claims in a recent court filing that exonerated Johannes Mehserle's fellow officers as having been afraid of Oscar Grant and that the murder was merely a "tragic accident." Demands included the firing of General Manager Dorothy Dugger, BART Police Chief Gary Gee, and BART police officer Tony Pirone. Additionally, NJNB calls for an independent investigation into the actions of all officers on the Fruitvale station platform on January 1st and the firing of any found to have committed wrongdoing.
After numerous speakers, NJNB was negotiating with the BART Board over their broken promise to hold public meetings at times convenient for working people in Oakland. As April 25th was being discussed as the date for the first justice for Oscar Grant public hearing, at a venue in East Oakland suggested by NJNB, a single demonstrator threw red paint onto Dorothy Dugger bringing the meeting to a close as police ushered everyone out of the room. Eventually, people were allowed back into the room for two brief public comments and then the meeting went into a closed non-public session.
Full audio of meeting:
NJNB April 9th Board meeting announcement: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/04/07/18586880.php
from the NJNB website:
No Justice No BART responds to events at April 9th, 2009 BART Board Meeting
(April 9th, 2009) Oakland, CA. At 10:00 am this morning, community members organized by the No Justice No BART campaign were engaged in a productive dialogue with the BART Board of Directors. We were moving towards calendaring and collaborating on a previously agreed upon public forum to address the New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant III and the future of the BART police department. We were specifically emphasizing an accessible meeting, as their meetings thus far have been at times and locations that are almost impossible for working people to attend.
In the midst of this process, the meeting was interrupted by the independent actions of an attendee upset over the shooting of Oscar Grant. We recognize the immense frustration about BART’s response to the shooting, and also recognize that tensions in the room and emotions in the community run high. At the same time, we deeply regret the incident that occurred. This disruption was in no way a goal for today’s meeting, and we are upset that it interrupted our dialogue. We feel it went against the collective understanding and intention that we had established as a group prior to the meeting, which was to reach common ground with the BART Board on our demand to move forward with public community meetings.
No Justice No BART regrets today’s unfortunate incident and does not condone this action. We look forward to continuing our principled dialogue and negotiation with the BART Board, while working together towards our shared goal of holding public forums in the community.
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Photos and more reports can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/04/10/18587569.php, including a report that covers later parts of the meeting: "Huge Racial and Gender Disparity in BART's Contracts; More on 4/9/09 Board Meeting..."