CA: BART Police Chief Identifies Officer Who Mistakenly Killed Sergeant

Jan. 27--OAKLAND -- BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey confirmed the identify of the officer who mistakenly shot and killed his supervisor, Det. Sgt. Tom Smith, during a probation search last week and announced policy changes aimed at averting such tragedies.

Rainey said Monday that Det. Michael Maes had requested that his role in the tragedy be made public "in the interest of transparency." Maes has worked for the Bay Area Rapid Transit police force for 14 years and before that worked for the Moraga Police Department as a patrol officer and detective for 12 years.

Maes is a field training officer for the force, Rainey said, "has an extensive background in criminal investigations and has received extra training in conducting searches and executing arrest warrants."

He is on paid administrative leave while the Jan. 21 shooting death of "Tommy" Smith -- the first BART officer killed in the line of duty -- is investigated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. That investigation is expected to take three to four weeks.

Rainey said Monday that BART Police Internal Affairs is also conducting an investigation and will begin interviews after Smith's Wednesday funeral, which Maes is expected to attend.

The two men were among five BART detectives, two uniformed BART officers and an Alameda County sheriff's deputy who entered the unlocked Dublin apartment of a robbery suspect already in custody to search for items stolen in a robbery.

The San Francisco Chronicle, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, reported Saturday that Smith and Maes split up as they entered the apartment. As Smith's drawn weapon emerged from a "Jack and Jill"-style bathroom -- one with two entrances -- Maes momentarily mistook him for a hostile suspect and fired a single shot.

An autopsy revealed that the shot missed Smith's protective vest and struck him in the chest.

On Monday, Rainey said that residential parole searches, search warrants and arrest warrants have required a manager to be on the scene. That policy will continue, but "effective immediately," such activities also require written approval of the deputy chief for patrol operations or someone he has designated.

Rainey also said he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to review BART Police Department "policies and procedures, training and the daily performance of personnel" surrounding use of force and use of force reporting, the administration of lapel cameras and search procedures "of persons and residences."

Uniformed BART officers are required to use their body cameras, but Rainey declined to say Monday whether those were turned on during the Jan. 21 incident.

Smith's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Neighborhood Church of Castro Valley, also known as the Three Cross Church, at 20600 John Drive. It will be open to the public.

A viewing, also open to the public, will take place Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward at 32992 Mission Blvd.

The Tommy Smith Memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. Deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank, Account # 5148561086, under Kellie Smith; or they can be mailed to: Tommy Smith Memorial Fund C/O Wells Fargo 11020 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1 San Ramon, CA 94582.

Copyright 2014 - Los Angeles Times

Loading