By JULIET WILLIAMS for the Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy in the San Francisco Bay Area has been charged with manslaughter and assault in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Filipino man during a slow-moving car chase more than two years ago.
Last month, the same deputy shot and killed a Black man.
The charges Wednesday came a day after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd, a Black man whose death last May helped spark a national reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality.
The Contra Costa County district attorney’s office said it charged Deputy Andrew Hall with felony voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm in the 2018 killing of 33-year-old Laudemar Arboleda, who was shot nine times.
“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,” District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release.
Deputies slowly pursued Arboleda through the city of Danville after someone reported a suspicious person. Sheriff’s department video shows Hall stopping his patrol car, getting out and running toward the sedan driven by Arboleda. Hall opened fire and kept shooting as Arboleda’s car passed by, striking him nine times.
Hall testified at an inquest that he was afraid Arboleda would run him over.
Hall’s attorney, Harry Stern, said prosecutors previously deemed the deputy’s use of force in the 2018 case 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.”
The district attorney has faced criticism for taking so long to make a decision in the 2 1/2-year-old case, which intensified after Hall shot and killed Tyrell Wilson on March 11.
Wilson was carrying a knife in the middle of an intersection. Graphic body camera footage released Wednesday shows the deputy call out to Tyrell Wilson, 33, accusing him of jaywalking, and then shoot him in the middle of a busy intersection within seconds of asking him to drop his knife.
The family’s attorney released another video Thursday taken by someone stopped at the intersection.
“It doesn’t seem like he was doing anything,” someone says in the video. After Hall shoots Wilson, which can be clearly seen in the video, another person says, “Oh, my God. … This dude just got shot and killed, bro.”
The footage released Wednesday shows Wilson walking away as the deputy walks toward him, then eventually turns to face him, holding a knife, and says, “Touch me and see what’s up.”
As they 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 confrontation lasted about a minute.
Attorney John Burris, who is representing the families of Wilson and Arboleda, said both men were mentally ill. Burris said if prosecutors had acted more quickly in the Arboleda case, Wilson might still be alive. He said Hall was unnecessarily aggressive toward Wilson, who was not causing any problems and was backing away from the deputy 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 drivers.
“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.”