Video Footage of Tyrell Wilson Killing Released – as Same Danville Officer Charged in Another Death

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Video footage released by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday shows Danville police officer Andrew Hall walking towards Tyrell Wilson before shooting and killing him on March 11, 2021. The body camera footage of the killing is graphic, and KQED has therefore chosen not to use screencaps from it. (Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office/YouTube)

Only a day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, the East Bay town of Danville is facing its own reckoning over two police killings.

Andrew Hall, a police officer in Danville, which contracts law enforcement services from the Contra Costa County Sheriff, has been charged with felony voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm in the 2018 killing of Laudemer Arboleda, the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Hall's shooting of Arboleda was "without lawful excuse or justification," the District Attorney's Office said in a statement. If found guilty, Hall faces a possible 22-year prison sentence and would be barred from being a peace officer.

"Ultimately, I'm confident a jury of officer Hall's peers will review this case ... and ultimately hold officer Hall accountable," District Attorney Diana Becton said at a press conference Wednesday. "The unnecessary death of Mister Arboleda underscores the need for law enforcement personnel to better understand those who are suffering from mental illness."

An attorney for Arboleda's mother, prominent civil rights attorney John Burris, supported the charges – but he said serious harm may have come from waiting more than two years to make them.

"In this instance, the delay in prosecuting Hall is particularly hurtful because Hall recently shot and killed a homeless man, Tyrell Wilson, under very questionable circumstances," Burris said. "Wilson could be alive if Hall were prosecuted earlier."

Just hours before the DA's charging announcement, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office released grisly, graphic video footage of the incident Burris was referring to: Hall shooting 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson, a homeless man whose family says suffered from schizophrenia, on March 11 of this year.

The newly released video — compiled from footage taken by Hall's body camera, citizen dash cam footage and stationary city-operated cameras — shows Hall exiting his police vehicle and making contact with Wilson before pursuing him on foot across the broad, busy intersection of Sycamore Valley Road and Camino Ramon, adjacent to the I-680 interchange in Danville, then shooting and killing him in the middle of the intersection, all in under one minute.

Due to its extremely graphic nature, and out of consideration for our communities, KQED has decided not to embed the video of Tyrell Wilson's killing. For those who wish to watch it in full, it is available here.

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The video begins with Hall's body cam footage, which was activated as he approached the intersection in response to 911 calls about someone throwing rocks off the Sycamore Valley Road overpass onto the I-680 freeway below.

Hall gets out of his vehicle and calls out to Wilson, who is walking into the intersection, saying, "Hey buddy, come here real quick! Come here!"

Wilson refuses and continues walking away from Hall across the intersection, saying, "Who are you?"

Hall says, "You're jaywalking now ... We're not playing this game dude."

After continuing to pursue Wilson on foot into the intersection, Hall identifies himself as "Officer Andrew Hall of Danville Police," to which Wilson responds, "From where? Authority of what?"

Hall closes the distance between them as Wilson stands still for a moment, before Wilson begins walking backward, away from Hall, holding a paper bag in one hand and what appears to be a small knife in the other.

"Don't fucking touch me," Wilson says as he begins to walk backward. "Touch me and see what's up."

Hall yells, "Drop the knife" as Wilson stops in the street and says, "No ... Kill me," while tapping his chest.

Wilson then takes a couple slow, halting steps forward. Hall yells, "Drop the knife" twice more, and shoots Wilson once. Wilson immediately collapses. Responding emergency personnel work to save his life, repeating, "Stay with us, stay with us," as they roll him onto his side. Wilson died a week later.

The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office framed the footage as exonerating Hall.

“Any loss of life is tragic, but the community can now see the truth,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston in a statement. “Tyrell Wilson did in fact threaten the lives of passing motorists by throwing objects, possibly rocks, from the overpass down onto Highway 680. He was found with numerous rocks in his jacket pocket. He did pull a knife on Officer Hall. He did threaten Officer Hall. 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."

Officers are generally trained to see a suspect with a knife in close quarters as a deadly threat. But a newly enacted California use-of-force standard under Assembly Bill 392 says officers should only use deadly force when other options aren't feasible.

Alternatives to deadly force could include what the bill calls "tactical repositioning" to create time and distance between an officer and a person representing a threat.

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Hall began working for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office in 2013. Just a year later, he was accused of excessive force by a person incarcerated at the Martinez Detention Facility, who alleged Hall "brutally attacked" him, and was subsequently beaten by other deputies. The Contra Costa Sheriff’s investigation exonerated Hall of any wrongdoing, and the investigation notes that injuries sustained by the prisoner may have been pre-existing, though reinjured in the fight with deputies.

In 2018, Hall, who became a contract officer for the town of Danville, responded to a call of a "strange individual lurking around" property near Cottage Lane and Laurel Drive in Danville. Officers tried to pull over Arboleda, who stopped twice but then took off again when officers got out of their cars, according to previous statements on the shooting released by the Sheriff's Office.

Video of Arboleda's death was obtained in 2019 by the California Reporting Project, a coalition of news organizations (including KQED) seeking records from law enforcement agencies under a new state transparency law.

The footage showed Hall shot and killed Laudemer Arboleda as Arboleda attempted to drive through a gap between two police cars.

State policing standards generally advise officers against shooting into moving vehicles, warning that doing so carries a great potential risk of death not only for the vehicle occupants, but police and bystanders. In particular, state policing standards warn against officers placing themselves in the direct path of a moving vehicle, as Hall appeared to do when he shot into Arboleda's vehicle.

Hall was placed on administrative leave after the Wilson shooting.

KQED's Tara Siler and Alex Emslie contributed to this report.

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