Facts & Allegations
On January 21, 2014, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Detective Sergeant S. and a group of BART detectives and officers took part in a probation search of a residence located in the City of Dublin, California. Detective S. led this search as part of an investigation of a suspect who committed multiple armed robberies and burglaries on BART-owned property.
After the entry team performed a “knock notice”, they determined the door was unlocked and verbally announced a probation search was underway. Detective S. was the first to enter the residence, leading the search team. Upon entering, Detective S. traveled left whereas Defendant Detective Maes, the second to enter, continued forward. As the detective unit was clearing rooms of the residence, there was no verbal communication with Detective S. and the other officers were unaware of his location.
Defendant Maes stopped and positioned himself in front of the threshold of a bedroom doorway, where he claimed to have observed a shadowy figure with a raised gun emerge from the closet. With no verbal order or warning, Defendant Maes fired a single round from his gun. This shadowy figure that Defendant Maes shot and killed was actually Detective S.
Plaintiff K.S. alleged that BART not only failed to provide proper training on building and probation searches for her husband, Detective S., and other BART detectives, but that it had repeatedly denied her husband’s requests for training his detective unit. Plaintiff further alleged that Defendant Maes’ shooting of Detective S. was excessive and unreasonable use of deadly force. Further, based on forensic evidence, Defendant S.’s gun was not pointed at Detective Maes. Defendants contended that Detective S. and the other BART PD personnel did have the necessary training and that Detective S. voluntarily took command of the search without gaining voluntary compliance from a resident.
BART agreed to settle for $3,100,000 to Plaintiff K.S. and her minor daughter. Further, BART agreed to revise existing training policies in order to allow officers more training and for an improved process of requesting and providing training when deemed necessary.