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BART Police Chief Defends Officers’ Actions in Civic Center Shooting

| July 12, 2011
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(Bay City News) A small but vocal group of speakers came to a BART committee meeting today to complain about a recent confrontation at San Francisco’s Civic Center station in which BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man.

Anne Weills, an Oakland attorney, told BART’s Police Review Committee that she thinks the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station on July 3 was “an atrocity.”

“This man did not have to die,” she said.

She alleged that Hill was mentally ill and should have been treated more carefully. She said BART police officers should be better trained for such situations.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said he works with a national organization on mental illness to make sure his officers are trained to deal with the mentally ill.

The shooting is still the subject of four separate investigations, but Rainey today defended his police officers’ actions based on information that he has at this point, including that Hill was armed with a broken bottle and at least two knives.

“The notion that officers have to be cut before they can defend themselves is false,” he said.

One officer suffered cuts to his arm during the confrontation, according to BART.

Responding to a question about why officers didn’t shoot at Hill’s extremities to disable him, Rainey said that when officers believe their lives are in danger, they are trained to shoot at the suspect’s “center mass.”

Weills was one of four people who spoke at the lightly attended hearing.

More on the shooting here.

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