OAKLAND (KPIX) — Anger and emotions ran high at a BART Board meeting in Oakland Thursday as the family of a man fatally shot by a BART police officer made their latest demand for justice.
At the meeting, the family renewed its calls for the agency to take action.
KPIX 5 spoke to the BART Chief of Police who said nothing has really changed. The officer who shot and killed Sahleem Tindle near the West Oakland BART Station on January 3 is still on active duty.
Tindle’s family and supporters on Thursday returned to the BART Board of Directors meeting demanding that the officer be fired.
The BART board message at the meeting was clear: they don’t have the authority to fire the officer.
After more than an hour of impassioned public comment from Tindle’s family and activists, board president Robert Raburn announced that an upcoming meeting of the BART Police Citizen Review Board was scheduled for Monday, and that Tindle’s death would likely be discussed.
“That’s not the same thing,” said organizer Cat Brooks, with the Anti Police-Terror Project, interrupting Raburn as he spoke.
“No!” she stood up and shouted from the audience, telling the directors that they “aren’t doing another piece of business” until meeting the group’s demand that Tindle be put on an upcoming agenda.
After a moment of uproar from the crowd packed into the board chambers, director Lateefah Simon spoke, saying that as a black woman and a mother she felt she had a responsibility to move this process forward in the interest of justice for Tindle’s family.
“Any mother who lost their child by the hand of the state deserves an opportunity to express their first amendment right,” said BART Simon.
She also moved to have an update on the investigation into Tindle’s death added to the agenda for the next meeting, and that motion was seconded by director Bevan Dufty.
Brooks called that a victory, brought about as a result of community pressure.
“They were really clear that we shut the BART meeting last time, and that we were going to continue to shut it down,” Brooks said. “I think there was a clear message that we were upping the ante next time if he wasn’t on the agenda.”
It was the second meeting in a row that Tindle’s family crowded into, its members one after another calling for BART Police Officer Joseph Mateu to be fired and charged in connection with the shooting.
In the body camera video from Officer Matue released by the BART Police Department, the officer is seen running towards the sound of gunshots.
When he arrives at the scene where Tindle and another man are struggling, he screams “Let me see your hands!” several times before shooting Tindle in the back.
In the released video, authorities circled what’s believed to be a gun in Tindle’s hands before officer Mateu shot him.
Tindle’s family maintains he was just defending himself by trying wrestle the gun out of the other man’s hands.
“We are tired. We are tired of this police brutality and them getting away with it getting off the hook scot free,” said Sahleem Tindle’s father, Kavin Tindle.
Tindle’s supporters left the BART meeting to march down the street, chanting and holding signs. They have vowed to return to every meeting until they get what they see as justice.
Brooks said the APTP’s next goal will be to ensure that Mateu loses his job, then push to disarm the BART Police Department.
“This question remains of why BART police officers have guns,” Brooks said. “They don’t need the guns, and every time we see them engage with the guns — from Nate Greer to Oscar Grant to Shaleem Tindle — a community member is killed.”
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