AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

BART praised for reform made after Oscar Grant killing

Police officers with BART have made significant progress in meeting reforms instituted after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white transit officer, an independent auditor said Thursday.

The reforms adopted three years ago included increased officer training regarding bias and other issues along with better reporting about incidents involving use of force, Patrick Oliver of the Ohio-based National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives told the BART board.

“This is a good agency that can become a great agency,” Oliver said during a special board meeting. “They’ve exceeded expectations of what it takes to conduct major reforms of a police agency, so there’s a lot for BART to feel good about, but obviously there’s more progress to be made.”

The report came during a turbulent time for the nation’s fifth-largest commuter rail system, which has already experienced two agonizing labor strikes this year over a contract dispute.

Oliver oversaw an audit of BART police and made recommendations after a scathing report criticized the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III by former Officer Johannes Mehserle on an Oakland station platform on New Year’s Day 2009.

The shooting was recorded on video by several bystanders, sparking numerous violent protests in the city over what many claimed was police brutality. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Oliver, a former Cleveland police chief, told the transit board that he thought BART police had a dysfunctional culture nearly five years ago from outdated policies and inadequate training, supervision and accountability.

Oliver wants BART police to make even more changes, including the implementation of a computerized tracking system that provides early warnings if officers are having problems.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said the department has adopted a majority of the reforms and officers now receive 40 hours of training every year — compared to the state standard of 24 hours every two years.BART policeBay Area NewsCrimeCrime & Courts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City has struggled to conduct outreach in some neighborhoods as it works to expand Slow Streets — such as this section of Page Street in the Lower Haight — to underserved neighborhoods. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SFMTA delays vote on Bayview Slow Streets, approves five others in ‘underserved’ areas

SFMTA struggles to conduct outreach in neighborhoods with lower internet access

Stern Grove Festival organizers are planning to bring back the popular summer concert series — The Isley Brothers show in 2019 is pictured — with limited audience capacity. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Indoor shows won’t be flooding SF stages soon but Stern Grove might be back in June

While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that live performances may resume… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto  (47) started on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 9, 2021. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants welcome fans back with strong performance by Cueto

By Ethan Kassel Special to S.F. Examiner ORACLE PARK — The first… Continue reading

James Harbor appears in court after he was arrested on charges in the July 4th shooting death of 6-year-old Jace Young on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Murder case heads to trial over killing of 6-year-old Jace Young

Hearing reveals new details in ‘horrific’ Fourth of July shooting

BART passengers may see more frequent service by this fall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART service increases possible as soon as September

Proposal would double weekday, daytime trains and extend system operating hours

Most Read