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Members of Sahleem Tindle’s family shout “No Justice no peace!” at the BART board meeting on Feb. 22, 2018 in Oakland. Photo by Rhonesha Victor.
The family of Sahleem Tindle and the community surrounding them demanded justice for Sahleem at Thursday’s BART board meeting on Thursday.
The meeting was shut down after two hours of public comment from 23 speakers calling for justice for Tindle, who was killed on Jan. 3 by a BART officer at the West Oakland station.
“My nephew was lynched by the BART police, I don’t think there’s gonna be a meeting today,” Tindle’s aunt said through tears after the BART board attempted to move the meeting forward.
Tindle, 28, was in an altercation, and was shot in the back three times while unarmed by BART Officer Joseph Mateu, according to family members and their attorney John Burris, who have watched the police video of the incident.
Tindle’s mother spoke at the board meeting about the pain of losing her son. She called on the board to act “morally human.” She said that the story of an unarmed young person of color being killed by police has been told over and over. “How many times do we have to reiterate the story before we get it right?” she asked.
The speakers at the meeting had a series of demands. They want Mateu arrested and sentenced for murder, but as Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), pointed out, that would be up to the Oakland Police Department.
The demands of the BART board of directors were that Mateu be taken off the streets immediately as a BART officer—Mateu was allowed back on duty two weeks after killing Tindle—and that he be fired.
“You can either give us justice, or you can realize that we’re not going to stop until we get it,” said James Burch of the APTP. “It’s on for the Tindle family, we ain’t going nowhere.”
The many speakers took issue not only with the murder, but with the way the BART police responded.
BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas held a news conference Wednesday, where he praised Mateu’s actions as courageous, and asserted his belief that Tindle was the owner of the object on the ground, that the object was a gun, and that Tindle had maybe already shot the person he was fighting with.