There will be no way for a player to kill civilians in EA's upcoming shooter Battlefield 3. During an interview with Paper, Rock, Shotgun ,the game's executive producer Patrick Bach said, "I'm trying to stay away from civilians in games like BF because I think people will do bad. I don't want to see videos on the internet where people shoot civilians. That's something I will sanitize by removing that feature from the game."
He also went on to explain that if they allowed players to shoot civilians, there would probably be backlash against the company even though EA isn't telling the players to shoot civilians, so it's easier to just not give them the choice.
Remember the whole "No Russians" level in Modern Warfare 2 and how must of a mess that was in the news? I'm guessing that EA isn't trying to bring that kind of press to Battlefield.
source: Paper, Rock, Shotgun