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Sometime in May, former BART police officer Johannes Merhserle will stand trial in Los Angeles for the murder of Oscar Grant III, the 22-year old Hayward man shot to death New Year’s Eve 2008-2009 at the Fruitvale BART station. We know this, you know this, we know you know this.

So it was with some surprise that the following e-mail subject line appeared in the inbox of SF Appeal Worldwide Media Headquarters:

“BART reaches settlement in Oscar Grant case”

Will rides to Oakland from 16th and Mission now cost $20, as BART pays out anyone and everyone remotely connected to a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit? No, or at least not yet: BART has agreed to fork over $1.5 million to the mother of Grant’s toddler daughter, Tatiana (bet you didn’t think THAT name would pop up in Bay Area holiday-related deaths again).

In a prepared statement sent out at around 5:30 p.m. (perhaps guaranteeing SF Appeal’s efforts to contact the Grant family’s lawyer, John Burris, would fail (and fail they did)), BART Board president James Fang said the following: “No matter what
anyone’s opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains this incident has left Tatiana without a father. The $1.5 million settlement will provide financial support for her.”

Now, does this settlement mean BART is assuming responsibility, or at least culpability, for the death of Tatiana’s father? There’s $48.5 million left out of the lawsuit filed by Burris; is more payout to come? Don’t know; that’s for lawyers to decide.

Anyway, BART would also have you know its overhaul of the BART Police is far from over: the release also highlighted the movement through the legislative process of a bill creating civilian oversight of BART police, and the “tripling” of training hours given to cops in “in crowd control, defensive tactics and Taser use.” Cos, you know, knowing where the gun is and where the Taser is, is, important and stuff.

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  • raqcoon

    BART is broke. What they gonna do? Raise fares, cut service, and write Tatiana an IOU?

  • raqcoon

    BART is broke. What they gonna do? Raise fares, cut service, and write Tatiana an IOU?

  • bloomsm

    Time for your friendly neighborhood lawyer chat:

    (1) no settlement admits liability; settlements are inadmissible in court to prove liability–the fact that BART paid money to Oscar Grant’s heirs will never come out in any trial, per California law.

    (2) BART has insurance for stuff like this. BART is a self-insured entity that has reserves for litigation and personal injury claims. BART gets sued every 10 minutes by some idiot who didn’t hold on when the train started rolling, and fell over and tore his pants. So no, BART does not automatically raise fares to cover these costs.

    Non-lawyer chat part: (3) Why do BART cops even have guns? What for? To shoot at people in a crowded train platform where any bullet will likely richochet? How about we disarm the BART police entirely?

  • bloomsm

    Time for your friendly neighborhood lawyer chat:

    (1) no settlement admits liability; settlements are inadmissible in court to prove liability–the fact that BART paid money to Oscar Grant’s heirs will never come out in any trial, per California law.

    (2) BART has insurance for stuff like this. BART is a self-insured entity that has reserves for litigation and personal injury claims. BART gets sued every 10 minutes by some idiot who didn’t hold on when the train started rolling, and fell over and tore his pants. So no, BART does not automatically raise fares to cover these costs.

    Non-lawyer chat part: (3) Why do BART cops even have guns? What for? To shoot at people in a crowded train platform where any bullet will likely richochet? How about we disarm the BART police entirely?