DANVILLE, Calif. — A lawyer for the family of a homeless Black man who was fatally shot last month by a San Francisco Bay Area police officer said Tuesday that a video serves as evidence that the shooting was unjustified — a claim disputed by the police officer’s lawyer.
The video was taken by a motorist who was near the March 11 shooting of Tyrell Wilson by Police Officer Andrew Hall in the city of Danville. It was released by the attorney for Wilson’s family, John Burris, who said he will file a federal civil rights lawsuit against Danville alleging Wilson’s civil rights were violated.
The video shows Wilson, 32, and Hall standing feet apart and facing each other in a public parking lot used by carpoolers where Wilson had been staying.
Hall appears to move toward Wilson, as Wilson appears to step backward. Hall points his gun at Wilson, who is facing him and then Hall shoots once, the video shows. Wilson collapses on his back and Hall stands over him.
Danville police said Hall responded to the parking lot after dispatchers received reports of a person throwing rocks from an overpass onto a highway.
When Hall arrived, he saw Wilson standing in the street, police have said. Police previously released still photographs showing Wilson holding a bag in his left hand and a folding knife in his right hand.
They have said that Hall gave commands for Wilson to drop the knife and that Wilson advanced toward Hall, prompting Hall to shoot.
However, the video doesn’t appear to show Wilson make any sudden moves toward the officer.
Wilson died March 17 at a hospital. Burris, who said Wilson suffered from schizophrenia, said that after seeing the body, he concluded Wilson had been shot in the face.
“The video and witness accounts show this was a cold murder. Wilson never had a chance,” Burris said in a statement.
The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office, which contracts to provide police services in Danville, is working with District Attorney Diana Becton to investigate the shooting of Wilson.
Hall is on paid administrative leave and has requested a new assignment outside of Danville, which is pending, his attorney Michael Rains told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Rains said the video “tells nothing about what occurred there,” because it is shaky and shot from an odd angle and because a road sign obscures critical movements that preceded the shooting.
The killing of Wilson came after Hall shot and killed Laudemar Arboleda, 33, in 2018 during a daytime slow-speed police chase in Danville.
In a video of that shooting, Hall can be seen opening fire without yelling any commands. Hall later testified at an inquest that he was afraid Arboleda would run him over, the East Bay Times reported. An internal probe by the sheriff’s office cleared Hall, but prosecutors with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office are still investigating.
Burris, who takes on many high-profile cases in the San Francisco Bay Area involving police shootings, does not represent Arboleda’s relatives but said Hall should have been prosecuted for the killing.
“They didn’t and now he has killed another innocent man. Enough is enough. This officer is a menace,” he said.