On Wednesday, Chris Hill, the brother of a San Francisco homeless man who was shot and killed by BART police officers, filed a federal lawsuit against BART for wrongful death and civil rights violations, according to Courthouse News Service.
On July 3, BART Officer James Crowell shot and killed Charles Hill after he allegedly threw a knife at Crowell and another officer. The officers were responding to reports about Hill appearing intoxicated and holding an open container.
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Attorney John Burris argued that the officers were improperly trained to handle the situation and overreacted, resulting in Hill's wrongful death. Burris also represented the family of Oscar Grant, an unarmed Oakland man who was shot and killed by BART officer Johannes Meserle 18 months before Hill's death.
"They shot and killed Mr. Hill at a time when they themselves were not in danger," said Burris to the Contra Costa Times. "They were not struck by the knife, and they had time to get out of the way."
The knife did not hit the officers, and instead missed by "a large margin," said Hill to the Courthouse News Service. Hill alleged that the officers were shouting "conflicting and confusing commands" at his brother.
According to the Contra Costa Times, BART Spokesman Jim Allison defended the officers, saying that they felt threatened by a man with a raised knife.
"We have said before that the officers were faced with a threat from Mr. Hill and acted within the standard procedures," he said.
In the weeks following the shooting, hundreds of demonstrators stormed BART in protest. During one protest, BART Chief Communications Officer Linton Johnson cut cell phone service in an attempt to quell the demonstration, sparking national criticism and a heavily disputed personal attack against Johnson -- including leaked nude photos -- from hacker group Anonymous.
After the witness interview process was completed, BART released a security video of the shooting that appeared to show Hill's knife being thrown at the officers. See footage from the security camera in the video below: