Family of Charles Hill Say Man Slain by BART Cops No Threat

John Burris Retained To Sue BART's Rails Off

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of Charles Hill, the 45-year old transient shot and killed by BART police in July, have an attorney.

    The family has retained John Burris, the Oakland lawyer who represented the family of slain BART passenger Oscar Grant III and won a $2.8 million settlement from the transit agency in that case. Burris has not yet filed suit, but plans to do so, as the family, speaking publicly for the first time, say Hill did not deserve to die.

    Hill was shot and killed during a 25-second confrontation on July 3 at the Civic Center station in San Francisco, according to the Bay Citizen. He allegedly tossed a knife at officers before Officer James Crowell, an 18-month veteran of the BART force, shot him twice.

    Hill was a heavy drinker and known to yell, but he was not known to have a history of violence, according to reports.

    His sister-in-law, Jan Hill, 63, of Connecticut, said that Hill was a loner and a drifter but loved San Francisco and visited the city often, according to the Bay Citizen.

    Hill had marijuana and methaphetamine in his system, and his blood-alcohol content was the legal 0.08, according to toxicology reports. He was "wobbly drunk" and threw a vodka bottle at BART police, according to BART.

    Hill's death started a snowball of events. A group calling itself No Justice No BART organized a series of protests, including the aborted Aug. 11 demonstration for which BART shut down cell service in its train tunnels. That action in turn led to the Anonymous "hacktivist" group protesting BART every Monday and leaking online sensitive information about its police officers and then-spokesman Linton Johnston.

    BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey maintained that Hill was a threat. "The notion that you have to be stabbed, beaten or shot before defending yourself is false," he told the Bay Citizen.

    Hill had about $20 in bills and loose change on him as well as a BART ticket when he was killed. Crowell has since left BART and taken a job at the FBI.