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An Oakland-based law firm will take over the internal investigation into the Jan. 1 shooting of an unarmed man by a BART officer at the Fruitvale station.

BART has hired the firm Meyers Nave to handle the probe because it is imperative to determine whether the officers involved in the incident that led to the shooting death of Oscar Grant III of Hayward violated BART Police Department procedures and/or state or federal laws, said Carole Ward Allen, chairwoman of the BART Police Department Review Committee.

The committee decided to use an outside firm because it was essential for "complete public confidence," Ward Allen said Wednesday at a news conference at BART headquarters.

The lead attorney will be Jayne Williams, a former Oakland city attorney and current city attorney for San Leandro. The firm has broad experience with internal affairs investigations and use of force cases that have resulted in policy and procedure changes within law enforcement agencies.

Recently, Meyers Nave successfully defended the city of Oakland's termination of Oakland police officers involved in the Riders case.

The cost to conduct the investigation by Meyers Nave is estimated to be $150,000. The probe is expected to wrap up in three months but could take longer because witnesses have to be called, BART officials and members of the law firm said.


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BART also hired Reginald Lyles, who worked in the Berkeley and Novato police departments, to assist with creating a citizen oversight committee and in the review of BART Police Department policies and procedures.

Meyers Nave asked the public to contact the law firm with any information about the Jan. 1 incident. The hot line number is 510-808-2055, and the e-mail is bartinfo@meyersnave.com.

This probe is separate from the ongoing parallel criminal investigation.

The investigation by Meyers Nave could lead to changes in BART Police Department policies, procedures and practices, as well as disciplinary action for the six officers involved in incident at the Fruitvale station, BART officials said.

BART also has resumed its investigation into the actions of the six other officers present during the confrontation that led to Johannes Mehserle's shooting of Grant.

Mehserle has since resigned from the BART force, but the six other officers are on paid administrative leave until the investigation is over, board member Joel Keller said.

The district attorney will decide if their actions warrant criminal prosecution, a finding expected in two weeks, Keller said.

Reach Angela Woodall at 510-208-6413 or awoodall@bayareanewsgroup.com.