By Luke Thomas
July 12, 2011
As many as 50 protesters angry over the shooting death of Charles Hill forced the temporary shutdown of BART service at Civic Center, 16th Street and Powell Street stations yesterday, interrupting the evening commute for more than two hours.
Chanting “Cops, Pigs, Murderers,” “No justice, no peace, disband the BART police,” the demonstrators were able to prevent an eastbound train from leaving the Civic Center station for 15 minutes forcing BART managers to halt services in both directions. One protester managed to climb onto the roof of the train before BART station attendants were able to pull him down.
Hill, a homeless man, was shot and killed by BART police July 3 at the Civic Center station. He was brandishing a knife and a bottle while walking towards the officers when he was shot three times, according to police.
Witnesses have reportedly said they believe the officers over reacted.
It was the third fatal shooting by BART police in as many years. On July 17, 2010, Fred Collins was shot and killed outside the Fruitvale station when he charged at officers wielding two knives. On New Year’s Day, 2009, Oscar Grant was shot in the back by then BART officer Johannes Mehserle while Grant laid prostrate on the platform at the same station.
BART and the San Francisco Police Department are investigating Hill’s shooting.