Friday, August 28, 2009

Cops Get Swanson to Gut BART Oversight Plan

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson of Alameda has agreed to severely weaken the BART police oversight plan after intense lobbying by the Peace Officers Research Association of California. According to the Chron, the statewide cops' group strongly opposed giving elected officials the power to discipline officers. As a result, Swanson watered down the BART oversight plan that was developed following the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by then BART cop Johannes Mehserle last New Year's.

The plan, which requires legislative approval, would have given the BART board a role in police discipline cases, but Swanson weakened it to give sole authority in such matters to the BART police chief and general manager. By contrast, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco had refused to carry the legislation - before Swanson gutted it - because it gave the cops and the BART police chief too much authority. BART board members had become angry with Ammiano and now apparently support Swanson's version because they're desperate to get a plan in place by the one-year anniversary of Grant's death.

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