BART officials have released footage from a security camera that partially captured a transit officer's July 3 killing of Charles Blair Hill, a 45-year-old transient who allegedly advanced on two officers with a knife at San Francisco's Civic Center station.
The video shows the officer who fired three times at Hill, but never shows Hill, who is some distance away and out of the frame.
However, a split second after the officer seems to shoot his pistol the first time, an object - a knife with a 4-inch blade, according to BART - flies through the air and bounces off a train car.
"If somebody pulls a knife and they believe that they can suffer serious bodily injury or actually result in a death, they're justified in pulling their duty weapon," said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey at the Thursday news conference where the video was released.
According to BART, police dispatchers initially received a call reporting a man walking around with an open bottle of alcohol at the station. The video shows two officers arriving in an SFO/Millbrae train shortly after 9:45 p.m.
Within nine seconds, the as-yet-unidentified officer shown throughout the video puts on his gloves - indicating, Rainey said, that he anticipated physical contact with Hill. Eleven seconds after that, Rainey said Hill threw a bottle, though that is not visible on the video.
Three seconds later, the footage shows the officer backing up and drawing his handgun. Another three seconds lapse, with the officer clearly saying something, but BART's cameras do not capture audio. Rainey said the officer told Hill to drop the knife that he was holding above his head in "an aggressive manner."
The video shows what appears to be the kick of the gun and, just an instant later, an object appears in view. It hits the train car and ricochets back roughly 20 feet.
Rainey said the officer who fired had no prior incidents involving the discharge of a firearm. He was put on routine paid leave for three days and is back on the job at BART.
See the video Footage made available by BART can be found at www.bart.gov/barttv.
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