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Friday, May 30, 2014

BART Cop Cleared of Wrongdoing in Shooting Death of Sgt. Tom Smith

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge Detective Michael Maes
  • Detective Michael Maes

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey says the department can move forward with its internal investigation now that an Alameda County judge cleared Detective Michael Maes of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of his boss, Sgt.Tom Smith.

"Until the internal investigation is complete, I cannot discuss details relating to our ongoing investigation," the chief said in a statement released to the media this afternoon.

On Jan 20., Smith and Maes were one of many BART cops conducting a probation search at an apartment complex in Dublin where they were looking for stolen property linked to a series of BART robberies. During the search, Maes accidentally fired at Smith, mistaking him for an armed suspect. Smith died later that day.

After entering the apartment, Smith and Maes split up to search the place. Smith had indicated he heard voices in the apartment and believed someone else was in there. After splitting up, Smith emerged from a closet area with his gun raised; Maes mistook him for a suspect and fired one fatal shot at Smith's chest. Later Maes confirmed he did not know the layout of the apartment they were searching.

After months of investigation, prosecutors decided that there was no evidence to file charges against Maes.

After the tragedy, Chief Rainey initiated a new process of reviewing and updating BART's policies, procedures and training to ensure something like this never happened again.

Per the Chief:

I immediately put into place the requirement that no residential probation or parole searches can be conducted without the approval of a Deputy Chief. In addition, all Sergeants and Officers were retrained in the use and activation of the Axon - Flex body camera system. Several members of our Detectives unit, Critical Asset Patrol and K-9 unit team who had not previously attended the 'Warrants/High Risk Operations' training put on by Alameda County Sheriff's Department have now completed that class. It is my intent to also send our Sergeants and Field Training Officers to this training class as well.

I've shared the DA's report with all BART Police personnel and asked that each person read and consider all the information offered by the outside investigators regarding what they felt transpired before this tragedy occurred.

Sgt. Smith is survived by his wife Kellie and 6-year-old daughter.

Donations can be made to the Tommy Smith Memorial fund at Wells Fargo Bank, Account # 5148561086 under Kellie Smith.

They can also be mailed to:

Tommy Smith Memorial Fund C/O Wells Fargo

11020 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1

San Ramon, CA 94582

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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