BART has settled the $50 million case that was filed on behalf of the family of Oscar Grant — the young man killed Jan. 1, 2009 by a former BART Police officer on the Fruitvale station platform. Around 1:45 this afternoon, following five settlement conferences over 2.5 years, BART reached an agreement with Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, for $1.3 million.
This is the second and final settlement in the $50 million case against the individually named officers, including Johannes Mehserle, for the death of Oscar Grant. The first was with Oscar Grant's daughter, Tatiana, for $1.5 million in January 2010. Last month a federal judge dismissed all the charges Wanda Johnson raised against BART as an agency.
"The tragic death of Oscar Grant will remain a painful memory for all of us," BART board president Bob Franklin said. "While we cannot alter the past, we have been using the lessons learned as a catalyst to change our future. We on the BART board have been continuously taking the actions needed to improve the BART Police Department to ensure our officers are better-trained and better-equipped and we're working with the community and our customers to earn their trust and confidence by keeping them safe and secure."
"No matter what anyone's opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains that this incident has left Wanda Johnson without a son," BART board member Lynette Sweet said. Sweet chairs the BART Police Department Review Committee, which is guiding the implementation of the changes within the police department. "We're working hard to make the Police Department the best it can be for our officers, our customers and our community. This settlement is critical in our efforts to move forward."
Bart Police Reforms Underway
BART continues to work with the public to enhance and improve policing services. Some of the improvements include:
- Creating the Office of the Independent Police Auditor and established an 11-member appointed Citizen Review Board to review, recommend and monitor police practices, policies and procedures along with receive citizen allegations of on-duty police misconduct and make recommendations regarding discipline when appropriate
- Hiring a new Police Chief
- Nearly tripling both the scope and amount of officer training, including enhanced firearm, Taser and cultural diversity training
- Increasing the presence of officers on trains and in station
- Requiring that officers report ALL uses of force instead of just those deemed significant and established a protocol to review each incid
Any questions should be directed to BART's outside counsel, Dale Allen, at 415-981-6630.