BART board agrees to discuss police killing of Shaleem Tindle at next meeting

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OAKLAND (BCN) An update on the investigation into the killing of 28-year-old Shaleem Tindle by BART police near the West Oakland station in January will appear on the agenda for the next meeting of BART's Board of Directors, finally allowing the board to respond to the extensive public comment they've been receiving on the matter.

Tindle was engaged in a physical struggle with another man when he was fatally shot by Officer Joseph Mateu in the 1400 block of Seventh Street around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 3.

Graphic footage of the shooting captured on Mateu's body-worn camera prompted public outrage when it revealed Tindle had been shot three times in the back while raising at least one of his hands.

Tindle's family has been outspoken in calling the young black father's death a "lynching."

Activists packed the board chambers for BART's last meeting on Feb. 22 to stand in solidarity with Tindle's family in their demand that Mateu be fired, but the item was not on the agenda.

That meant the board could not respond without violating the Ralph M. Brown Act, California's open records law, which is nominally intended to prevent government boards from operating in secrecy.

This morning, 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.

She 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."

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."