Though UCPD has maintained that it will continue with current policies following the November shooting of Haas School of Business student Christopher Travis, some campus and community leaders still feel that more can be done for future situations involving campus security.
A report released by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office cleared UCPD Sgt. Andrew Tucker of any criminal liability in the shooting of Travis, who reportedly drew a gun on officers in the school’s computer lab last November. The report, which states there was insufficient evidence to file charges against Tucker, found suicide as the motive for Travis in provoking the police shooting.
In the initial investigations into the incident, the district attorney’s office interviewed all UC Berkeley administrative and student witnesses as well as the UCPD officers who reported to the scene of the shooting.
“We have been training all along for these types of rapid response situations,” said UCPD spokesperson Capt. Margo Bennett. “We felt that the officers’ arrival at campus was quick and their attention to the situation was important.”
Bennett said UCPD followed normal protocol during the incident and has trained extensively for situations involving active shooters.
Regarding incidents of this nature, there are generally three investigations that take place. The first is the initial criminal investigation, the second is the district attorney’s report, and the third part is an administrative review that is done by UCPD in conjunction with the district attorney’s report, she said.
Though an investigation was only conducted by the district attorney’s office and UCPD, the UC Berkeley Police Review Board is also seeking to increase its policies and communication with UCPD following the incident, according to incoming ASUC Executive Vice President Justin Sayarath.
Sayarath also said that since the campus has had to deal with Occupy Cal, the shooting and the Gill Tract occupation this year, meeting with UCPD and the campus administration to discuss the incidents is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship between the ASUC and the other two entities.
“I know the Police Review Board has been amping up its efforts and are trying to hold UCPD officers more accountable to the work that they do,” Sayarath said in an email. “We try to maintain a working relationship with UCPD officers so that if events like the student beatings of the past academic year were to occur, ASUC elected officials are at the table defending and fighting for students.”
Incoming ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi echoed Sayarath’s sentiments and said in an email that ASUC officials will continue to stay more active with UCPD in the upcoming year.
“Given the significant amount of student-police interactions over the past few years, it will definitely be a priority … to have more dialogue, communication and negotiations with UCPD and to keep students informed and aware,” Abbasi said in the email.
The city of Berkeley’s Police Review Commission chair George Perezvelez said although it is fortunate that Tucker’s name was cleared, it may be time for students to push for a police oversight agency for the entire UC system, given the number of police officers who are employed on campus.
“A police department of such high number should have an independent oversight agency — a civilian oversight board,” Perezvelez said. “If there is 3,000 police officers that patrol (the university), a criminal oversight agency is important.”
Anjuli Sastry is an assistant news editor.
A previous version of this article stated that Justin Sayarath is the incoming ASUC External Vice President. In fact, Sayarath is the incoming Executive Vice President.