OAKLAND — As two investigations into the New Year's Day fatal BART police shooting of a Hayward man continued Monday, officials said they discovered footage recorded by station security cameras and found it captured nothing of importance.
Video released earlier this week by TV station KTVU appears to show an unidentified officer standing over 22-year-old Oscar Grant III, who was being restrained facedown on the floor of Fruitvale station by another officer. The standing officer appeared in the video to pull his gun from its holster on his right hip and fire directly into Grant's back.
But recently discovered video captured by station cameras, which record to a separate network than the one BART policemonitor, was "benign" and showed nothing of any significance to the shooting, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.
"There is a hodgepodge of cameras throughout the BART system, and we are in the process of bringing them all to standard," Johnson said. "At $2 (million) to $5 million per station and 45 stations, that's going to be hard in this economy, but we're working on it. "... We wanted them yesterday."
According to other news reports, some have speculated that the officer may have intended to reach for a Taser stun gun, with which many BART police officers are equipped.
Officials said they are not sure whether the officer in question was armed with a Taser during the incident. BART police Chief Garry Gee said the weapons
Tasers are gun-shaped and kept on the officer's belt, on the opposite side of the .40-caliber semi-automatic pistols that the department issues, Gee said.
BART officials also did not say Monday how long it took for Grant to receive medical care after being shot. Johnson said BART was looking into the matter.
Mario Pangelina Jr., whose sister had a 4-year-old daughter with Grant and who said he witnessed events surrounding the shooting, told reporters Sunday that he was forced aboard a train and had to leave the scene after seeing Grant lying on the floor after being shot. When Pangelina later saw footage of the scene captured by the media, he recognized Grant lying in the same position as when he'd been shot, Pangelina said.
He estimated the time that had passed between the shooting and the beginning of the media footage as at least 20 minutes.
Alameda District Attorney Tom Orloff said BART police thus far have cooperated fully with his office's investigation into the shooting. Asked to respond to a public request made Sunday by an attorney representing Grant's family that Orloff's office consider charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter against the officer, Orloff said no courses of action have been ruled out.
"Our position is not to critique police procedures or training," Orloff said. "Our function is to determine whether or not a criminal offense has been committed by the officer that should be pursued."
Orloff declined to predict how long the investigation will continue.
"Realistically, by the time everybody's been talked to, the toxicology's been done, and all the basic stuff is in, it's almost always a matter of weeks, not days," he said.