A video that partially captured the fatal July 3 shooting of an apparently drunk man on a BART platform makes it clear that he threw a knife at police but does not depict how far away he was or what kind of threat he posed.
Charles Hill is never shown in the brief record of his life’s final seconds. But official agency video shows he was shot and killed just 23 seconds after BART police responded to reports of a “wobbly drunk” man on the Civic Center platform.
After BART released the video Thursday, police Chief Kenton Rainey walked through it for the media.
The video is roughly one minute long. It shows two officers exiting a San Francisco International Airport-Millbrae train 11 minutes after BART officials received their first call for service.
The officers — whose faces are obscured to shield their identity — walk offscreen for a few seconds. Rainey said the officers presumably approached Hill.
Roughly 17 seconds after their arrival, Rainey said, Hill threw a glass bottle at the officers, only one of whom returns to the screen. But the video doesn’t show the bottle, simply the officer backing away.
The officer draws his gun 21 seconds after arriving, and fires two seconds later. Then, one second after that, a 4-inch blade enters the screen and appears to cross in front of the officer. It hits a train and ricochets, landing behind him.
The officer said he fired after Hill approached him aggressively with his hand clenching the knife above his head, Rainey said. It is unknown if the officer fired before or after Hill threw the knife.
That blade and another were recovered on the platform near Hill. Neither hit officers, Rainey said, but the bottle cut one officer.
The Taser stun gun of the officer who fired at Hill sits untouched on his right hip. Passengers on the platform do not seem panicked, and Rainey said he did not believe the officers’ actions endangered them.
Both officers were placed on three-day administrative leave, but have since returned to work after being cleared by a psychologist.
Once San Francisco police complete their investigation, they will turn it over to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. BART’s internal affairs unit also is investigating.