BART Officially Clears James Crowell, Officer Who Shot and Killed Charles Hill

Thumbnail image for BART officer fires gun.jpg
courtesy of BART
James Crowell
The Bay Citizen brings us this not-so-surprising news this morning that BART officer James Crowell is off the hook for shooting and killing a homeless man in the Civic Center BART station.

The incident, which sparked monthlong protests at BART stations, occurred on July 3, 2011, when BART officers received a call of a "wobbly, drunk man" on the platform. When police arrived, the found 45-year-old Charles Hill, armed with a knife and a broken bottle. Crowell supposedly ordered Hill to put down his weapons, but instead, Hill lunged toward the officer, according to BART.

That's when Crowell fired the fatal shot.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco District Attorney decided not to file charges against Crowell, saying the officer fired his weapon in self-defense. Yesterday, the independent police auditor announced that he agrees that Crowell did nothing criminal, and was merely protecting himself.

What's more, nobody actually filed a formal complaint against Crowell, which means BART won't have to discipline him, according to the Bay Citizen. Of course, this shocked BART riders/protesters, who said they considered the ongoing demonstrations last year, which shut down BART service many times, a formal complaint.

"It's hard to believe that the protest we put together doesn't count as a complaint or the testimony we gave in board meeting after board meeting," says Krystof, the man who organized the dozens of BART protests last year.

However, Hill's brother has filed a wrongful death suit against BART, alleging Crowell "unlawfully shot" Hill after the "immediate threat of harm" had passed.


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