July 6 news conference on officer involved shooting at Civic Center Station


July 6 news conference on officer involved shooting at Civic Center Station

Linton Johnson

I'm BART Chief Communications Officer, Linton Jonhson, and this is Deputy Chief, Daniel Hartwig, BART Police Department and his name is spelled D-A-N as in November, I-N-E-L, Daniel Hartwig (to Deputy Chief Hartwig) Did I spell that right?

Deputy Chief Hartwig
No.

Linton Johnson
No, I didn't, D-A-N-I-E-L (laughing) D-A-N-I-E-L Hartwig H-A-R-T-W-I-G, here to give you a chance to answer some more questions-- ask some more questions and him to answer some more questions on the investigation which is ongoing.

Hartwig
Good evening, first and foremost we are here to reaffirm that this is an active, ongoing investigation that involves BART PD, San Francisco PD, San Francisco Coroner's office and it remains a priority for all these agencies to do a thorough and complete investigation. At this time the suspect has yet to be identified. When that does occur, we have confirmation from the coroners office that we will be immediately notified at which time Mr. Johnson will provide a release to you for notification. We have identified as many as 40 witnesses that were at the scene on Sunday evening not all witnesses have been interviewed at this point the majority have, the fact that not all have been interviewed causes us to retain the video that we have of the scene of the night on January 3rd. We do not want to release that video until all witnesses have been interviewed, we don't want to influence their response one way or the other. As soon as this investigation is completed and it is turned over to the San Francisco DA's office, it is our intent to release this video as long as there is no objection from the DA's office. The next steps are all dependent upon what the findings bring out in this investigation San Francisco PD is in daily contact with BART PD, I spoke with the lead investigator tonight. The most recent information is witnesses from the scene are providing clear and accurate information the officers involved remain on administrative paid leave I am in touch with them on a daily basis as well. At this point in time that's all we have, I am able to answer any questions.

Reporter(s)
Have you seen the video yourself and can you tell us a little bit about is it actually of the incident itself, does it show the moments leading up to it?

Hartwig
I have not seen the video I am told that there are strong investigative leads involved in the video.

Reporter(s)
We were just here yesterday, it seems as though this is the same as what was released yesterday, is there anything new today?

Hartwig
I think what we're trying to be today that we maybe weren't yesterday, it is our intent to release the information that we have based upon the stage of the investigation, we just cannot release it. We're going to appear probably on a daily basis until we can come to a conclusion. Any information that we have that's new, we will bring it is our intent to stand before you and to be as transparent as possible.

Reporter(s)
Is there any video from passengers' cell phones or cameras?

Hartwig
At this point in time to my knowledge we have not recovered any videos from passengers or people that were at the scene. Again, we request from anybody that was there that may have video or any information involving this incident contact BART Police at 510 464-7040.

Reporter(s)
Why are you guys releasing the video, have you done a review of something that's considered a public record or what leads to you guys--

Hartwig
The purpose of the investigation is determine what actually occurred the evening of January 3rd-- correction, July 3rd. We don't want to leave the impression on anybody that we have something that we're not willing to share with the public. When we determine that the time is right to do so we will do so.

Reporter(s)
Apparently one of the witnesses says that, from what she saw, the man with the knife didn't appear to be lunging or running at the officers. How do you respond to that?

Hartwig
That's part of the investigation, I certainly can't make a determination of one sole statement.

Reporter(s)
Yeah, that was-- we interviewed that witness and she said that not only he wasn't lunging or running, but appeared to be moving rather slowly towards the officers, is there-- what's the protocol when someone has a knife and doesn't appear to be like, stabbing or like is just slowly moving--

Hartwig
I can't make a judgement on a statement of what actually occurred or didn't occur. What we rely upon are those 35 to 40 witnesses that we in the process of interviewing. We believe that upon the completion of those interviews and all evidence at hand, we will come to the appropriate conclusion of what actually occurred.

Reporter(s)
Would just a man with a knife and a broken bottle on a platform be sufficient for an officer to shoot him?

Hartwig
The decision making process of a deadly force situation involves imminent danger either to the officer or to a citizen that's nearby.

Reporter(s)
Are you-- is that what occurred?

Hartwig
I can tell you what the protocol what the process is, I cannot tell you what occurred.

Reporter(s)
But what is the protocol or process when it comes to determining whether or not to use your taser? At what point is that decision made?

Hartwig
Again, in a deadly force situation, the taser is a tool available to the officer, the officer will make that determination at that split second that that decision is made to respond to deadly force.

Reporter(s)
Do we know that the person that was shot and killed is in fact the person that was carrying the knife?

Hartwig
Excuse me?

Reporter(s)
The person that was shot and killed is in fact the person that had the knife on his body, on his person.

Hartwig
We will determine that through the investigation.

Reporter(s)
So you can't say for certain that the person that was shot and killed was the one that was actually carrying the knife.

Hartwig
I have not seen the investigation, so I cannot say that.

Reporter(s)
Was an officer cut before the shooting?

Hartwig
There was an officer that received a wounds to his forearm.

Reporter(s)
Before the shooting?

Hartwig
I do not know that.

Reporter(s)
And what caused those cuts? Was it the knife or--

Hartwig
I do not know that either.

Reporter(s)
And the person that was shot, do we know if that was the person that was-- that the initial-- that prompted the initial response, does the description match?

Hartwig
The clothing description matches the original call.

Reporter(s)
And the original call was...

Hartwig
It was a intoxicated male, on the platform in a tie dye t-shirt and camouflage pants.

Reporter(s)
And was he threatening anyone?

Hartwig
The original call did not include comments regarding threats.

Reporter(s)
Did the original call include reports of him carrying a knife?

Hartwig
They did not.

Reporter(s)
Did you order toxicology reports on this person to find out what possibly may or may not be in his body could have been in his body?

Hartwig
That is part of the San Francisco coroner's responsibility and part of the investigation.

Reporter(s)
So you don't know?

Hartwig
Specifically for a fact? I do not know.

Reporter(s)
So to be clear, I thought that you had said that officers were confronted with-- by a man with a bottle and a knife.

Hartwig
The reports that we have at this time are stating that the officer confronted a belligerent
aggressive male carrying a bottle. I believe transcripts released this morning to the media repeated what an officer stated over the radio immediately after the shooting occurred. And that was, there were shots fired, the suspect is down, he has a knife, the officer requested for code 3 ambulance response.

Reporter(s)
How big was the knife?

Hartwig
I do not know.

Reporter(s)
But there was a knife that was recovered.

Hartwig
Yes.

Reporter(s)
Was it on the platform or on the person, do you know?

Hartwig
I do not know.

Reporter(s)
We had a witness tell us that he saw the knife on the platform.

Hartwig
That may be true.

Reporter(s)
Had the suspect been on a BART train.

Hartwig
We have not confirmed that yet.

Reporter(s)
You're not certain that the suspect had the knife at the time that the suspect was shot.

Hartwig
The only thing I'm certain of is what the officer said immediately after the shots were fired that he had a knife.

Linton Johnson
Any other questions?

Reporter(s)
Do you anticipate that this video will be-- is up at the City of San Francisco or the prosecutor's office or what will trigger the release of the video?

Hartwig
The completion of the investigation and the assurance that the release of the video will not compromise the investigation in any form and that decision will be made by the San Francisco DA's office.

Reporter(s)
And is there just one view of the incident?

Hartwig
To the best of my knowledge there's one view.

Reporter(s)
Can you just go over again what kind of training-- these guys were trained in the use of tasers and what kind of training to BART cops have in general.

Hartwig
All BART Police officers have recently completed a taser training. There's a targeted date of July 11th that all uniformed BART Police officers on patrol will carry tasers. It will be a mandatory requirement. Taser training is very similar to firearms training they're done at the same location you transition from a firearm to a taser, from a taser to a firearm depending on the situation and the decision making process of the officer. The taser is never used in a life threatening, immanent danger situation.

Reporter(s)
How many hours of training?

Hartwig
Our hours of training post required are 24 hours every two years. We currently have each of our officers undergoing 40 hours yearly. The BART district has made a commitment to increase the training which is inclusive of deadly force trauma incident response.

Reporter(s)
And just to be clear, you said July 11th.

Hartwig
Correct. Currently it is an option to carry the taser, as of July 11th the targeted date it will be mandatory for patrol officers to have a taser strapped to their weak drawing side.

Reporter(s)
Did the officers here have tasers?

Hartwig
No-- One of the two had a taser.

Reporter(s)
Is it a different taser-- does it have a different handle than the weapon-- than the gun?

Hartwig
The handle has always been-- it's different than the gun, the difference is, is we have one protocol, one policy on how the taser will be worn and how it will be drawn-- simplified-- if I'm right handed, my strong hand is on my right side, I will wear my taser on my left side, I will only be able to draw that taser with my weak hand-- my left hand.

Reporter(s)
Do you know if the officer who fired the fatal shot is the one that had the taser?

Hartwig
I do not have that information.

Reporter(s)
And once again you said-- you were saying that the taser is never used in a life threatening, imminent danger situation?

Hartwig
Correct

Reporter(s)
I think yesterday you said that in a deadly force situation, what's the difference there?

Hartwig
One in the same. I apologize for giving you two different descriptions. Deadly force, any situation that a police officer finds him or herself in you respond to the force with force necessary to end that threat. If you, as a police officer, are facing a deadly force situation, the appropriate response would be to reply with deadly force.

Hartwig
Anymore questions? Thank you.

Linton Johnson
I just want to give you a heads up that there are two ways that we're going to release the name once we receive it or any other identifying information. It'll be on the incident pager, incident voicemail line. Most of you your newsrooms have pagers on your assignment desks or editors desk and they go off they tell you to call the incident voicemail line, that number is 510 874-7464. It's also good for service disruptions. And then, of course the news release. Generally that is a much slower process to get that out than it is to call the incident voicemail line so I would keep that number handy, for this incident and in the future.

Reporter(s)
Linton, do we know if this man is a San Francisco man?

Linton Johnson
No, we don't have an identity on him.

Reporter(s)
So you don't have an identity on him, it's not that you just haven't reached the next of kin, you have no i.d. on him.

Linton Johnson
BART has no identity-- we have not received a name from the coroner's office, we have no identity.

Reporter(s)
Does the coroner have the name?

Linton Johnson
You can ask the coroner.

Reporter(s)
Well, what do you think? Does the identity exist or is it just one of those things where you're just trying to figure out who this guy is.

Linton Johnson
Well, somebody knows who he is. We don't. I wish we did.

 

Upated July 7, 2011 to correct video link