BART Police Release Intense Shooting Video
This frame grab from a BART closed circuit television camera at the Civic Center station, shows a BART Police Officer shooting Charles Blair Hill (off camera) on Sunday, July 3, 2011.
San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix
July 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO – A dramatic video released Thursday shows a BART police officer drawing his gun and firing the shots that killed a knife-wielding homeless man July 3 at San Francisco’s Civic Center station.
The limited-angle video from a fixed BART security camera did not show the homeless man, Charles Hill, but it shows what officials say is his knife flying past the police officer and then bouncing off a BART train.
The flash of the officer’s gun can be seen at almost the same time as the knife whizzes by — possibly thrown by the homeless man.
Even with the limited view from the video, the only one to capture the 9:45 p.m. shooting, BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said he believes the footage is consistent with the officer’s statement that he felt threatened by Hill coming at him with a knife. The public has raised questions about the shooting and whether officers, who are equipped with Tasers, used excessive force.
Rainey said the officer fired three times after the 45-year-old Hill “raised his arm with a knife in an aggressive manner” and ignored a command to drop the weapon.
In a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Oakland, interim BART General Manager Sherwood Wakeman said the transit district released the video in keeping with its commitment to transparency in officer-involved shooting investigations.
“It’s important to make this video available in a timely manner,” Wakeman said.
The San Francisco Police Department, he lead agency in the shooting investigation, had asked BART not to release the video until all witnesses at the station platform that night were interviewed.
With that now done, SFPD authorized the release of the 80-second video Wednesday.
BART officials said SFPD hasn’t set a timetable to conclude its investigation into the shooting, but plan to issue a progress report within 45 days.