AUDIO: BART Police dispatch recordings publicly released
Clips from BART Police dispatch recordings during the events leading up to the shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant by former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle on the Fruitvale BART platform in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009 were made available Thursday by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
The dispatch communications clips record some of the radio chatter amongst police officers who responded to reports of a fight aboard a Dublin/Pleasanton-bound train that night.
Mehserle is charged with second-degree murder for the killing of Grant. His trial was moved to Los Angeles County over concerns about whether he would receive a fair trial in Alameda County.
Transcripts of these clips from the recordings were released Tuesday.
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In one of the clips released, a dispatcher clearly tells an officer no weapons are involved in the fight. Some BART Police officers who were present, including controversial former Officer Anthony Pirone, have given the possibility that Grant and his friends were armed as one reason for their perceived aggressive behavior.
Dispatch: Boy-14 I’ll show you en route to cover at Fruitvale. It’s the lead car, no weapons. All black clothing, large group of bms [black males] is all we have.
B14: 14, I copy.
Dispatch: Per central they’re still engaged.
Later, Pirone calls his partner, former BART Police Officer Marysol Domenici, for backup:
514 [Pirone]: 496, Tac-1.
496 [Domenici]: Go.
514 [Pirone]: Can you ninety-eight me upstairs?
496 [Domenici]: Which side?
514 [Pirone]: Dublin side.
496 [Domenici]: 10-4.
After the shooting, BART Police officers are heard calling for an ambulance, and asking for the train waiting on the platform to be sent on its way:
508 [BART Police Off. Jonathan Guerra]: 11 code three medical [send an ambulance, use lights and siren]. We have a gunshot wound victim [unintelligible]
Dispatch: I copy code three for a gunshot wound?
508 [Guerra]: Affirm.
B10: I need Code 3 medical to Fruitvale ASAP for a gunshot victim, copy gunshot victim.
Dispatch: Affirm, code three for a gunshot victim.
508 [Guerra]: 11 release the train here.
Dispatch: Train’s being released.
Domenici then asks for trains to be prevented from stopping at Fruitvale BART. The dispatcher asks whether the shooter is still at large; Domenici does not answer. Eventually Pirone steps in to answer that question, telling paramedics that it is safe to go onto the platform.
496 [Domenici]: Boy-10.
496 [Domenici]: Do not let the trains here at Fruitvale with doors open, keep ’em running through Fruitvale, do not stop any trains at Fruitvale.
496 [Domenici]: Boy-10, I’m clearing the platform.
L-11: 11, do we have an outstanding shooter?
496 [Domenici]: Go ahead.
Dispatch: For L11, is there an outstanding shooter?
514 [Pirone]: Boy-10, what’s your question?
Dispatch: L11 wants to know if there’s an outstanding shooter.
514 [Pirone]: Negative. Don’t have ’em stage, have ’em roll, code three, platform one.
Dispatch: Affirm, they’re en route.
The complete set of audio clips released Thursday, along with transcripts, is available on the Beat website.
The California Beat and The Campanil’s joint continuing coverage of the Johannes Mehserle BART Shooting trial is funded in part through Spot.Us. Visit our special trial news page and help fund this project.
Beat reporter Tashina Manyak contributed reporting from Los Angeles. Beat reporter Jennifer Courtney also contributed reporting. Contact Steven Luo at firstname.lastname@example.org.