Mehserle Verdict Has Ripple Effect on BART

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Rail Life / Flickr
    Busy day for BART as extensions and union contracts are hotly debated.

    BART Board President James Fang issued a statement in response to the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial.

    Fang said BART officials continue to deeply regret the shooting death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale  station in Oakland early on New Year's Day 2009.

    Regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial, BART has always taken responsibility as a civil matter for the terrible tragedy that occurred on the platform of the Fruitvale BART Station on the morning of January 1, 2009.

    A young man lost his life because of the actions of a former BART police officer. It is a heartbreaking fact that no one can change that sad day. We continue to deeply regret the loss of life.

    While we cannot change the past, the tragedy has served as a catalyst to change the future of BART for our customers and the communities we serve. Oakland, indeed the whole Bay Area, is one of the best places to live in the entire world. We must not let the initial emotional reaction of the verdict have long-lasting negative effects on the place we call home.

    Fang's statement goes on to list the steps the agency is taking to "improve the way our police  operate in the community." 

    San Francisco and downtown Oakland stations -- to be patient with service because the trains are very full as a result of the  Mehserle verdict.

    The verdict -- guilty of involuntary manslaughter -- was read at about 4:15 p.m.

    "All of our trains are on time; however, they are very packed with passengers," BART spokesman Linton Johnson said before the verdict was read.

    Noah Klein was one of the passengers trying to get on a train at  the 12th Street/Oakland City Center station.

    Klein works in the Elihu M. Harris State Building in downtown Oakland, and was told to go home early after word came in that a verdict had  been reached.

    "It was a mob almost," he said. "It wasn't rushing or angry or trying to push, but everyone was trying to make their way down to a train."

    He said, "everybody's pretty calm, just a little concerned."

    Bay City News