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BART Releases Security Camera Video of Civic Center Shooting

| July 21, 2011
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Update 5:34 p.m.

The video has just been posted to BART’s You Tube Channel. It’s embedded below. Note this advisory from BART:
“While the platform video does not show Charles Hill, please be advised that due to the nature of the incident, viewers should use discretion in choosing whether to view it.”

Update 3:50 p.m.

KQED’s Mina Kim is at the BART press conference and has viewed the video. She reports the following:

The video captures a partial view, mainly one officer, who fired his weapon. His face is covered by a black box to protect his identity. You see the officer flinch, which is when BART Police Chief Rainey believes the bottle is thrown by Hill.

BART Chief of Police Kenton Rainey speaks at a press conference July 21, 2011. BART officials released the surveillance video that captured the July 3 officer-involved shooting at Civic Center station. (Photo: Mina Kim/KQED)

You can see the officer draw his weapon and fire just as a knife flies past him. It ricochets off the train and spins off, coming to rest on the platform behind the officer.

It’s blurry so BART circles the knife in blue in the video.

BART also showed blown-up images of the knife, which is about eight inches long, with a four inch blade and black handle.

The officer who fired is not the one who sustained cuts. That was the other officer who is not captured much on the video.

The Police Auditor will not say if he agrees or not with Rainey’s narrative that the officer fired as Hill chucks the knife.

Rainey just clarified, He did not mean the shot was in response to a knife being thrown. He believes Hill raised his Arm and moved aggressively toward the officer. That’s when he fired.

Update 3:45 p.m. BART says the press conference is still going on. But they did release this statement, which includes this:

While the platform video does not show Charles Hill, please be advised that due to the nature of the incident, viewers should use discretion in choosing whether to view it.

On July 3, Charles Hill, a 45-year-old homeless man, was shot dead by a BART police officer at the Civic Center station in San Francisco. Police said Hill appeared to be drunk and was moving toward two officers, wielding two knives and a broken bottle, when one of them shot him.

Police at Civic Center during a July 12th protest of the shooting (Photo: Mina Kim, KQED)

BART said it would not release the video while witnesses were still being interviewed. Now, apparently, that process is over.

The only witness to the incident to publicly emerge so far told the Bay Citizen a few days after the shooting that Hill was moving toward officers slowly.

The shooting is currently being looked into by the new BART Police Auditor and the Citizen Review Board. Both were created in response to the shooting death of Oscar Grant by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

A July 11 protest of the shooting caused significant delays on the transit system.

Announcement from BART today:

At 3:00 pm, BART Interim General Manager Sherwood Wakeman,
Police Chief Kenton Rainey and Independent Police Auditor Mark P. Smith
will release the Civic Center Station platform security camera video of the
July 3 officer involved shooting.

The video is being released today with the cooperation of the San Francisco
Police Department, which has completed its interview of witnesses and has
stated that sharing the video with the public will no longer interfere with
its investigation. BART had said it would not release the video until the
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office received a copy, but is releasing
it today in the interest of providing the public with information about the
case as soon as possible and since it will not interfere with the SFPD
investigation.

The video will be available to the general public on www.bart.gov/barttv as
soon as possible today.

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