Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 9:37 am in BART.
A BART police officer will not be changed with any crime for fatally shooting a a knife-wielding homeless man in the San Francisco Civic Center station last July because the officer was acting in self defense, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has decided. The announcement means no criminal trial will result from the death of Charles Hill, whose shooting touched off protests against the transit agency. But a civil lawsuit against BART will continue. Gascon’s decision backs BART police assertions from early on that officer James Crowell responded legally to a threat of danger when Hill approached him with a raised arm holding a knife. Hill was drunk and high on methamphetamines and marijuana, according to an autopsy report.
Crowell has since left BART to work for the FBI.
Public reaction to the shooting was intense in part because of the memories of the fatal shooting of an unarmed train passenger, Oscar Grant, on Jan. 1 2009 by a BART officer who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Officer Johnannes Mehserle quit BART before his criminal trial, where he testified he had meant to draw his Taser instead of his gun.