Protesters, officials face off over BART shooting

July 12, 2011 5:39:27 PM PDT
Monday, angry protesters shut down BART during rush hour. Tuesday, they brought their anger to the BART Board of Directors. They are furious about last week's fatal shooting of a passenger at Civic Center station and at the first BART board committee meeting since the shooting, they made their frustrations known.

BART board member Lynette Sweet: "It's not going to be a combative session."

Protester: "Well I'm sorry, some of us are a little bit upset."

Sweet: "Well some of us are upset as well; none of us want to see a dead body."

Protester: "What are you going to do about it?"

Sweet: "None of us want to see an agency..."

Protester: "Then the solution is very simple: disband the BART police department."

BART's police chief gave an update on the July 3 shooting that left 45-year-old Charles Hill dead. Police say he was drunk and armed with two knives. Officers fired within a minute of arriving on the platform.

But the update failed to offer any new facts. What happened during that one minute remains a mystery and protesters remain angry.

Krystof (protester): "How far was Mr. hill from the officers when he was shot?"

Chief Kenton Rainey: "We're not releasing that information."

Krystoff: "What kind of knives was Mr. hill carrying?"

Rainey: "We're not releasing any information because again, San Francisco is the lead investigating agency and they're still interviewing witnesses."

As many as 40 people may have seen the shooting. BART surveillance cameras also captured part of the incident.

"This man Charles Hill did not have to die; he could have been tackled, he could have been treated in a very different way," protester Annie Weils said.

BART officials say they plan to release the video of the shooting, but only when the district attorney allows it. As for those witnesses, it is a much different scenario than the Oscar Grant shooting in 2009 -- so far very few have come forward publicly.


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