On New Year’s Eve about three blocks from my apartment at a the Fruitvale BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, the transit police shot and killed 22 year-old Oscar Grant. Grant was lying on his stomach with his hands behind him on the train platform when a single shot was fired by a BART officer. The police claim that it was an accident, and the gun that killed young father of a four year-old girl, went off by mistake. Witnesses say Grant was not resisting when the gunshot was fired. The transit agency police officers claim to have been responding to reports of fighting on an arriving train. Again, according to eyewitnesses there were no movements and he was not trying to overrun the police officer. Agency spokesman Jim Allison stated; “It’s clear that it was a volatile situation with young men who were arguing and in fact had continued to argue even in the presence of multiple police officers.” Although no one involved in the “alleged” fighting were arrested following the shooting. Two men were detained for questioning, but later released. Despite the fact that a gun cannot discharge accidentally, (you must have your finger on the trigger). The BART Police then shut down the Fruitvale station until 2:50 a.m. to “collect” physical evidence after the incident.
One item they missed however was an amateur video showing the officers beating the unarmed men and yelling and cussing at them as they tried to cooperate. The tape barely catches the victim being shot but it is believed that other tapes are out there. The young woman who made the recording says that she was five feet away from the victim when the incident happened. She also claims that a female officer tried to confiscate her camera when she realized what happened. BART spokesman Linton Johnson stated that the video feed that goes to BART’s police department did not record any footage of the incident, as it normally doesn’t record incidents. Later his story changed to say the video feed that goes to the transit agency’s operations center did record the incident, and initial review of that video did not show “anything of significance.” While Officials have not publicly identified the officer, it is known that he has served on the force for just less than two years. The officer has been placed on “standard” administrative leave, as an investigation into whether proper procedures had been followed and whether or not the shooting was a crime. WHETHER OR NOT THE SHOOTING WAS A CRIME!!! One thing being currently overlooked is that the BART police are not “real” police. According to the official BART website;
In 1969, three years before BART opened for revenue service, the transit district’s board of directors recommended that local police and sheriff’s departments patrol the stations, trains, rights-of-way, and other BART-owned properties that were within their respective jurisdictions. The police chiefs and sheriffs, forecasting that BART’s proposal would create jurisdictional disputes and inconsistent levels of police service, rejected the board’s proposal. As a result, legislation was passed to form an autonomous law enforcement agency, the BART Police Department. Chief Gary Gee heads the department of 296 personnel, of which 206 are sworn peace officers. Community-service officers, communications/9-1-1 dispatchers and supervisors, revenue-protection guards, clerical staff and supervisors, and a CAD/RMS administrator comprise the department’s civilian employees. The BART Police Department provides the full range of law-enforcement services. To prepare for major emergencies, critical incidents, and tactical call-outs, the department is a signatory to the Bay Area’s mutual-aid pacts. Select officers receive training in SWAT, crowd management, and hostage negotiations.
Recent statistics published by the Stolen Lives Project estimate that the number of cases in the United States relating to police brutality has reached the thousands, yet many of these instances are never officially reported due to fear of reprisal. If you have been detained, questioned, arrested or otherwise handled by the police, you do have rights. However, you are in a bit of a difficult position if you’ve suffered from and been a victim of police brutality. You aren’t in a position to defend yourself realistically, as fighting back will generally only serving to exacerbate the situation at hand. Whether they even have the right to do what they did is inevitably beside the point. I have no delusions that the BART police will be punished for what they have done. Police brutality happens every day across the globe. Recently when it happened to a 15 year-old kid named Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Greece the people took action. The riots have lasted for five weeks and just today (January 5th) two gunman attacked a group of riot police and the gunmen fired about 40 shots before tossing a hand grenade at police to cover their escape. A 21-year-old policeman was taken to hospital with serious injuries from three bullets. While here in Oakland but about 20 people rallied outside the Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s headquarters. A single protest is planned for Wednesday at the station where Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood. When will we as the alleged “greatest nation on Earth”, step up and say that enough is enough. We have become so complacent in our acceptance of this police state that we live in. We are more concerned about what shitty products we can afford than about our freedoms, rights, and very lives are being taken away from us by these gun toting Nazi’s that patrol our streets each day. There must come a time when we the people stand up and fight back. There are organizations out there that have provided information to help you and me fight back but we cannot rely on words alone. Direct action will have to be taken to stop these animals from getting away with murder every damn, day! Here are some simple rules to remember when you find yourself in the line of fire.
IF THE POLICE ARREST YOU…
•You may be handcuffed, searched,
photographed and fingerprinted.
•Say repeatedly, “I DON’T WANT TO TALK
UNTIL MY LAWYER IS PRESENT.”
Even if your rights aren’t read, refuse to talk,
Until your lawyer/public defender arrives.
•Do not talk to inmates in jail about your case.
•If you’re on probation/parole, tell your P.O.
you’ve been arrested, but NOTHING ELSE.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT…
•to be in a public place and to observe
IF THE POLICE STOP ANYONE…
•STOP AND WATCH.
•Write down officers’ names, badge
numbers, and car numbers. COPS
MUST BE IDENTIFIED BY NAME OR
BADGE NUMBER (PC sec. 830.10).
•Write down the time, date, and
place of the incident and all details
as soon as possible.
•Ask if the person is being arrested,
and if so, on what charge.
•Get witnesses’ names and contact
•Try to get the arrestee’s name, but
only if they already gave it to the
•Document any injuries as soon as
possible. Photograph them and
have a medical report describing
details of the injuries.
IF THE POLICE STOP YOU…
•Ask, “AM I FREE TO GO?” If not, you
are being detained. If yes, walk
•Ask, “WHY ARE YOU DETAINING ME?”
To stop you, the officer must have
a “reasonable suspicion” to suspect
your involvement in a specific
crime (not just a guess or a stereotype).
•It is not a crime to be without
ID. If you are being detained or
issued a ticket, you may want to
show ID to the cop because they
can take you to the station to
verify your identity.
•If a cop tries to search your car,
your house, or your person say
repeatedly that you DO NOT CONSENT
TO THE SEARCH. If in a car, do
not open your trunk or door – by
doing so you consent to a search
of your property and of yourself.
If at home, step outside and lock
your door behind you so cops have
no reason to enter your house. Ask
to see the warrant and check for
proper address, judge’s signature,
and what the warrant says the
cops are searching for. Everything
must be correct in a legal warrant.
Otherwise, send the police away.
•The cops can do a “pat search”
(search the exterior of one’s clothing
for weapons) during a detention
for “officer safety reasons”.
They can’t go into your pockets
or bags without your consent. If
you are arrested, they can search
you and your possessions in great
•DO NOT RESIST PHYSICALLY. Use your
words and keep your cool. If an
officer violates your rights, don’t
let them provoke you into striking
back. Wait until you are out of
custody then you can organize for justice.