Bay Area deputy charged with manslaughter in fatal shooting of unarmed man

California

A sheriff’s deputy in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area was charged Wednesday with manslaughter and assault in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Filipino man during a slow-moving car pursuit through the town of Danville more than two years ago.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office announced the charges against Deputy Andrew Hall in the November 2018 killing of Laudemar Arboleda, who was shot nine times. Hall faces charges of felony voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

The charges came a month after Hall shot and killed a Black man who was armed with a knife in the middle of an intersection. Graphic body camera footage released Wednesday shows the deputy call out to Tyrell Wilson, 33, then shoot him within seconds of asking Wilson to drop his knife.

“Officer Hall used unreasonable and unnecessary force when he responded to the in-progress traffic pursuit involving Laudemer Arboleda, endangering not only Mr. Arboleda’s life but the lives of his fellow officers and citizens in the immediate area,” Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release about the charges from the 2018 incident.

Hall’s attorney, Harry Stern, said Becton’s office previously deemed Hall’s use of force justified, “given the fact that he was defending himself from a lethal threat. The timing of their sudden reversal in deciding to file charges seems suspect and overtly political.”

Tuesday, former police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death in Minneapolis sparked national protests over racial injustice and police brutality.

Becton has faced criticism for taking so long to make a decision in the 2 1/2-year-old case, which intensified after Hall’s shooting of Wilson last month.

The footage of the March 11 shooting released Wednesday shows Hall call out to Wilson, accusing him of jaywalking. Wilson continues to walk away as the officer walks toward him, then eventually turn to face him, holding a knife, saying “touch me and see what’s up.”

As the two men stand in an intersection, Hall asks him three times to drop the knife as Wilson motions toward his face, saying “kill me.” Hall shoots once, and Wilson drops to the ground as drivers stopped in the intersection look on.

The entire incident lasted about a minute.

Attorney John Burris, who is representing family members of both Wilson and Arboleda, said both men were suffering from mental illness. Burris said if Becton’s office had acted more quickly in the Arboleda case, Hall might still be alive. He said Hall was unnecessarily aggressive to Wilson, who was not causing any problems and was backing away from the officer before he was shot without warning.

“This is a homeless man, he’s walking away, minding his own business. He’s basically saying go away, leave me alone,” Burris said. “You felt compelled to kill him.”

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston said the videos show Wilson was threatening Hall and was possibly throwing rocks at motorists.

“He did threaten Officer Hall,” Livingston said. “And he did start advancing toward Officer Hall in the middle of a major intersection. Officers are forced to make split-second decisions to protect themselves and the public, and that’s what happened here.”

In the 2018 incident, the 33-year-old Arbodela was killed after leading officers on a slow chase through Danville. Sheriff’s Department video shows Hall stopping his patrol car, getting out and running toward the sedan driven by Arboleda. Hall then opened fire and continued to shoot as Arboleda’s car passed by, striking Arboleda nine times.

Hall later testified at an inquest that he was afraid Arboleda would run him over.

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