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4:41 PM: BART’s police chief and members of its Police Review Committee were subjected to tough questions today about a recent confrontation at San Francisco’s Civic Center station in which BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man.

A leader of the activist group No Justice, No BART who identified himself as Krystof angrily asked committee members, “What training do you have in running your police department?”

The Police Review Committee was formed after passenger Oscar Grant was fatally shot by former officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1 to try to make the transit agency’s police department more accountable to the public.

But Krystof, who was one of only four speakers at today’s meeting, said the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station on July 3 marks the second time BART police have killed someone since Grant was killed.

Fred Collins, a 48-year-old Oakland man, was fatally shot by BART and Oakland police officers near the Fruitvale station in Oakland on July 17, 2010, after allegedly charging at them with knives in each hand.

BART Director Lynette Sweet, who chairs the Police Review Committee, said she and other committee members are also upset that Hill was killed, saying, “None of us are happy.”

Krystof responded, “The solution is simple: disband the BART Police Department.”

Director Tom Radulovich, another committee member, said he considered asking for the department to be dissolved after Grant was killed, but he ultimately came to the conclusion that it would be better to reform the department instead of contracting out police work to an outside agency that would not be accountable to BART and the public.

Oakland attorney and activist Anne Weills told the committee that she thinks the fatal shooting of Hill was “an atrocity” and that he “did not have to die.”

Weill 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.

But 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, asserting for the first time that Hill was armed with “at least two knives” as well as a broken bottle.

Rainey previously only said that Hill was armed with only one knife.

Rainey said BART officers are entitled to use force whenever they believe that their lives or the lives of passengers are in danger, not just after they have been harmed.

“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.

After the hearing, Rainey told reporters, “The notion that police officers wake up in the morning and want to be involved in a shooting is false.”

Krystof was one of about 100 demonstrators who disrupted service at the Civic Center station and two other San Francisco BART stations during the Monday evening commute in a protest against the fatal shooting of Hill.

Krystof told committee members today that “the protest really pissed me off” because he did not like the way BART police treated the demonstrators, even though no one was arrested.

Krystof said, “The protesters were very civil with you, and if that doesn’t change, things will either get very bloody or very ugly” at future demonstrations.

After the hearing, Krystof said protesters chose to demonstrate on the platform inside the Civic Center station instead of an area designated by BART outside the pay gates because they knew they would get more media attention by going onto the platform.

A demonstration outside the station would not have attracted as many television cameras, he said.

Krystof said, “We’re bringing the protest to BART’s turf.”

3:05 PM: 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.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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  • RussianHillDweller

    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.” … 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.

    >> Sounds like Anne Weills is to blame in this case, for not offering to personally fund sensitivity training for BART police officers when it comes to handling knife-wielding, mentally-unstable citizens. Sorry, but there isn’t enough money in the till nor enough hours in the day to afford all of the government that some people want, and it’s bad enough that citizens who pay taxes and take care of themselves are forced to walk over the filth that gathers in every corner of downtown S.F. BART stations.

  • RussianHillDweller

    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.” … 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.

    >> Sounds like Anne Weills is to blame in this case, for not offering to personally fund sensitivity training for BART police officers when it comes to handling knife-wielding, mentally-unstable citizens. Sorry, but there isn’t enough money in the till nor enough hours in the day to afford all of the government that some people want, and it’s bad enough that citizens who pay taxes and take care of themselves are forced to walk over the filth that gathers in every corner of downtown S.F. BART stations.