DUBLIN (KPIX 5) — Sgt. Tommy Smith was shot and killed by a fellow BART officer during a search of a Dublin apartment last year. Smith’s widow said she is filing a lawsuit against BART, saying the transit agency ignored her husband’s pleas for more training.
“It’s very scary, it haunts me,” Kellie Smith told KPIX 5. “I think he should still be here.”READ MORE: COVID Recovery: Businesses Hoping End Of COVID-19 Restrictions Will Bring Crowds Back To Ferry Building
Kellie Smith, a BART officer for almost 20 years, said she will never forget a conversation she had with her husband in the middle of the night, months before he was killed on duty by a fellow officer.
“He came home one night after a callout and he was just really frustrated and upset. Woke me up 2, 3 in the morning and said, ‘Kellie if anything ever happens to me, I want you to sue the **** out of BART,’” Kellie told KPIX 5.
Kellie said she didn’t want to file a lawsuit, but said she is now Tommy’s voice.
“I felt that my coworkers’ safety was in jeopardy and as a result, my husband lost his life. And had this tragically happen to a child, the public safety is in jeopardy,” Kellie said.READ MORE: California Drought: Healdsburg Bans Sprinklers; Sets Personal Water Use To 74 Gallons A Day
The lawsuit accuses BART Police and the BART Board of ignoring requests from officers like Smith for more training in high-risk buildings and probation searches.
Detective Michael Maes, who fired the fatal shot, is also listed as a defendant.
Kellie said her husband had to do a lot of probation searches.
“There were mistakes made because of the process they used and the way the search was done,” Eustace de Saint Phalle, Kellie’s attorney told KPIX 5. “Detective Tommy Smith, Sergeant of the Detectives’ Unit, was first requesting supervision from SWAT officers. That was denied. He was then requesting specific training related to building searches and that was denied.”
BART released a statement, saying while the BART family continues to mourn the loss of Sgt. Smith, “The tragic shooting occurred despite extensive training the officers had received which far exceeded the standards required…”MORE NEWS: 3-Alarm Fire Burns 2 Buildings at West Oakland Recycling Center
Kellie said as a BART officer she feels a duty to protect her family, colleagues and the public, so this will never happen to anyone else.