Family of man killed by cops takes on BART

Examiner file photoShooting: Charles Hill was shot and killed by BART police in July after he allegedly brandished knives at the officers.

Examiner file photoShooting: Charles Hill was shot and killed by BART police in July after he allegedly brandished knives at the officers.

The family of Charles Hill, the 45-year-old transient who was shot and killed by BART police officers in July, will file a civil claim against the transit agency next week.

Hill was fatally shot after a confrontation at the Civic Center BART station July 3. Officers said Hill threw a glass bottle in their direction and was brandishing knives at the time he was shot. Video showed an object being thrown at the cops, but Hill cannot be seen in the footage.

John Burris, an attorney representing Hill’s family, said he did not deserve to be shot.

Since he has yet to file the claim, Burris declined to discuss details of the case, but he said the Hill family has a legitimate grievance.

“They have every reason to feel wronged by BART,” said Burris. “I wouldn’t be taking this case if I didn’t think it was a very strong one.”

Burris has represented clients in several high-profile cases involving police misconduct. He was the attorney for the mother and daughter of Oscar Grant III, the 22-year-old BART passenger who was fatally shot by then-Officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year’s Day in 2009.

Grant’s mother received $1.3 million and his daughter $1.5 million from settlement agreements with the transit agency.

The San Francisco Police Department is still conducting a criminal investigation of the Hill shooting. Until that probe is finished, BART cannot comment on the civil case, spokesman Jim Allison said.

“While our hearts go out to Mr. Hill’s family, it’s not appropriate for BART to comment at this time on any legal aspects of the shooting,” said Allison.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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