Charles Hill’s doctor to join tomorrow’s #opBART protest
As the weekly ‘Anonymous’ led protests continue to expose BART official’s lack of critical thinking skills, Dr. Rupa Mayra, a physician who cared for BART’s latest victim Charles Hill, has written an open letter to the residents of San Francisco expressing her outrage at the police officer who killed her patient and her intent to join tomorrow’s protest.
Dr. Mayra says in her letter that she has treated Hill on multiple occasions in the recent past and she does not understand why the officer shot to kill the man, rather than use non-lethal force. She also points out that the she and her colleagues at the hospital have to deal with potentially dangerous patients frequently and never feel the need to use lethal force to subdue a patient.
“While I had seen him agitated before and while I can’t speak to all of his behavior, I never would have described him as threatening in such a way as to warrant the use of deadly force. We often have to deal with agitated and sometimes even violent patients in the hospital. Through teamwork, tools and training, we have not had to fatally wound our patients in order to subdue them.”“I understand the police are there to protect us and react to the situation around them, but I wonder why the officer who shot Charles did not aim for the leg if he felt the need to use a gun, instead of his vital organs. I wonder if he possessed other training methods to subdue an agitated man with a knife or bottle.”
The doctor also makes the point that public officials are meant to serve the public, not murder them and get away with it. The officer who killed Charles Hill did not have the right to decide that July 3rd, 2011 would be Hill’s last day to live.
“I feel this situation quite deeply. It is hard to watch our civil servants (police) brutally handle a person and their body when I spend my time and energy as a civil servant (physician) honoring the dignity of that person, regardless of their race or social class, their beliefs or their affiliations. I know it is not my job — nor the police’s job — to mete out justice or judgment of a person’s worthiness. It is also hard because Charles has no voice, no one to speak for him now that he is gone. It would be easy to let this slide and move on with our busy lives, as we all struggle to make ends meet in this expensive city during a recession. I believe this situation shows us how powerless we all feel to some degree.”
After a brief internal review, BART officials decided to continue to employ the officer seen here shooting to kill a passenger after less than one minute of arriving on the scene. Witnesses say the victim did not pose a threat that required deadly force. Hill was intoxicated and allegedly holding a pocket knife, which apparently makes it legal to shoot and kill him as long as you have a fancy costume and a corrupt police force to back you up.
Dr. Mayra makes a final point expressing her outrage over the lack of understanding on BART’s end to listen to the protesters. She also expresses frustration over the media covering the brief annoyance to commuters over the murders of BART passengers and the seriousness of the situation. She then offers her support to the protesters saying:
“I feel outraged and am trying to find the best ways to express it — through creative outpouring, through conversations. I would like to lend my voice to the growing protest of the BART police’s excessive use of violent force and know that weekly protests are being organized on Mondays until demands are met for BART to fully investigate the shooting of Charles Hill, disarm its police force and train them properly, as well as bringing the officer who shot him to justice.”
“The media is portraying the annoyance of the protests to commuters more than the unbelievable horror that an innocent man was shot dead by the force that is meant to protect us. I don’t want to upset commuters or be a nuisance. I would like to be part of educating and not letting this slip under the proverbial rug — in honor of Charles Hill and in order to help prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
“I will be present at the peaceful demonstrations on Mondays in front of the BART Civic Center station, not to prevent commuters from getting home, but to educate a population that may need to pause and think about the value a human life has and the kind of San Francisco we want to live and work in.”
Read the letter’s full text here.
The protest is set to begin at 5pm tomorrow evening at the Civic Center BART station. Protesters plan to continue their peaceful actions of civil dis-obedience every Monday until BART officials take necessary action to fire BART spokesman Linton Johnson and police Chief Kenton Rainey, mandate new training for all officers, publicly apologize for shutting down cell phone service, take away guns from BART police and open a new investigation into the shooting of Charles Hill.
Officials have issued a warning to BART passengers that there may be station closures as a result of tomorrow’s planned protest. The SF Gate reports:
“BART officials are again warning commuters that they may close stations in downtown San Francisco or alter service in response to a demonstration planned for 5 p.m. tomorrow night at Civic Center Station.”