Attorney John Burris, flanked by family members of Laudemer Arboleda, speaks at a press conference following the sentencing of former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Andrew Hall on March 4, 2022. Hall was sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting Arboleda in 2018. Burris represented Arboleda's family. (María Fernanda Bernal/KQED)
Andrew Hall, a former Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for a fatal shooting in 2018. Hall was immediately taken into custody by his previous employer, the county sheriff.
A jury convicted Hall of assault in October for fatally shooting Laudemer Arboleda, a 33-year-old Filipino man who suffered from paranoia and mental health issues. Hall was initially charged with assault with a deadly weapon and voluntary manslaughter, but the jury deadlocked on the more serious manslaughter charge.
Diana Becton, the Contra Costa County district attorney, declined to retry Hall on that charge. Hall, who also served as a Danville police officer, is the first officer amid a wave of recent police prosecutions in the Bay Area to be found guilty and sentenced. Six years is one of the longest sentences a California officer has received for an on-duty shooting.
“We prayed he would get jail time and he did, although it's just six years,” Arboleda’s sister Jennifer Leong said at a press conference following the sentencing. When asked how she was feeling, Leong said, “it's been hell. It's baby steps right now. It's baby steps for our family. This is something.”
“[Arboleda] did not deserve to die for evading a police officer,” Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said. “That is really the crux of this.”
The on-duty shooting Hall was convicted for took place on Nov. 3, 2018, when police, responding to calls of a suspicious person, attempted a traffic stop in the town of Danville. Arboleda led police on a nine-minute car chase toward downtown Danville. Dashcam video showed him pulling over multiple times, and then driving off when officers got out of their patrol cars.
Hall arrived on the scene and tried to block Arboleda’s car at an intersection. Police video showed Hall get out of his car and step into the path of Arboleda’s vehicle, firing into the windshield and window.
To convict Hall of assault, the jury must have found that his decision to shoot Arboleda nine times as he drove slowly forward was unjustified and therefore amounted to an excessive and unnecessary use of force.
Arboleda’s mother, Jennie Atienza, spoke at Friday’s hearing and urged the judge to provide justice for her son.
“The emptiness is still here,” Atienza told Mockler. “It’s there and it won’t go away. I would never be the same again. And one half of my life died with my son.”
Mockler was highly critical of a probation report submitted to the court for Hall, and found that it relied on evidence that was not included at trial and ignored key evidence that the jury relied on to reach a guilty verdict.
Mockler said she had a lot of empathy for Hall who, according to the probation report, “had a very unstable, chaotic childhood and he raised himself up by the bootstraps to become something better.” But she said the same thing could be said for many of the defendants who come through her courtroom. Ultimately, she found probation was not appropriate.
She sentenced Hall to three years for the assault conviction and an additional three years for causing great bodily injury. She dismissed a second enhancement that could have added more time. Because Hall was convicted of a violent felony, Mockler said he will have to serve 85% of his sentence.
The Contra Costa County district attorney’s office wrote in a statement that the six-year sentence reflected the seriousness of Hall’s crime and the need for accountability.
Charges against Hall for the 2018 shooting were announced in April 2021, about a month after Hall fatally shot Tyrell Wilson, an unhoused Black man who was allegedly throwing rocks on the freeway. Bodycam video of the incident shows Hall pursued Wilson across an intersection. Wilson pulled out a knife and Hall shot him.
Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represented Arboleda’s family in their civil lawsuit against the county, spoke after the sentencing laying blame on the Contra Costa County Sheriff for failing to find that Hall broke policy during the 2018 shooting of Arboleda.
If they had, they could have removed him from the police force, Burris said, and “we would not have a second dead young man,” he said, referring to Wilson. “That’s the tragedy of it all.”
The county settled with Arboleda’s family for $4.9 million last year.
Becton’s office said the investigation into the Tyrell Wilson shooting is ongoing. Wilson’s parents were at Friday’s hearing and said they would continue to fight for justice for their son.
Hall has 60 days to file an appeal.
KQED's María Fernanda Bernal contributed to this story.
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