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Protesters angry about police shooting shut down S.F. subway stop

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Protester climbs on top of BART train
  • A group called "No Justice, No BART" organizes a protest at a BART stop
  • They are angry about a BART officer's fatal July 3 shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill
  • No one has been charged in the shooting; an "independent auditor" is investigating

(CNN) -- Protesters shut down a San Francisco subway station Monday, angry about a transit police officer shooting a drunk man at a station earlier this month.

A group called "No Justice, No BART" -- which formed after the 2009 shooting of an unarmed passenger by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer -- organized the spirited, albeit largely peaceful rally centered at the city's Civic Center stop. That officer was eventually found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Oscar Grant's death.

The transit system, known in San Francisco as BART, said on its website that the more recent shooting occurred July 3, after police dispatchers got a call about "a drunk who was unsteady on his feet and in danger of falling off the platform."

Two BART officers arrived on the scene at 9:45 p.m. And a minute later, the man -- later identified as 45-year-old Charles Hill -- was shot after a confrontation with police. The shooting victim was taken by paramedics to a local hospital, and pronounced dead later that night.

In a subsequent statement, BART identified Hill as a "suspect" who is "said to have had no known address."

But the scores who attended Monday's "civil disturbance" loudly voiced their view that the Hill was a victim, who died without just cause at the hands of a transit police officer.

With a slew of reporters, photographers and cameramen in sight, the demonstrators packed a BART train. They reeled off a number of chants including "No justice, no peace" and "Murderers, justice."

The protest prompted the BART system to halt service in and out of its Civic Center stop, the agency announced in an alert. The 16th Street Mission station also closed down, while major delays were reported all around the city.

No one has been charged in the shooting, which is the sixth in the system's 40-year history, according to BART.

Yet while there has been no admission of police wrongdoing, the San Francisco transit system has charged its "first-ever Independent Police Auditor," according to a statement posted Monday on its website.

Mark Smith -- who was hired in part to promote public confidence in BART in the wake of the 2009 shooting -- had been on the job for all of one week when Hill's shooting occurred.

"It is a great relief that the independent auditor is in place to reassure the public that the investigation into the officer-involved shooting is conducted with the highest integrity and greatest level of transparency," BART board president Bob Franklin said.