The family of Tyrell Wilson, a 32-year-old Black man shot and killed by a Danville, California police officer in March, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Contra County Sheriff’s Department, which handles policing for Danville, and the town. A witness driving by recorded the incident on video.
According to the family’s attorney, Andrew Hall, the police officer who shot Wilson killed a Filipino man, Laudemer Arboleda, in Danville 2.5 years ago. Police dash and body cam video show Hall shooting at a fleeing vehicle. Hall fired a total of 10 rounds through the windshield and passenger window of Arboleda’s car. That shooting was the first time since 2001 that a Danville law enforcement officer had killed a suspect.
Hall, who has been a police officer for seven years, is currently on paid administrative leave. Along with unspecified damages, the lawsuit seeks his termination.
Throwing Rocks at Cars
Wilson, who was homeless, stayed in a park-and-ride lot in Danville.
Shortly before noon on March 11, police responded to several calls from motorists that a man near the Sycamore Valley overpass was throwing rocks at cars on Interstate 680. When they arrived at the scene, Wilson was standing in the street.
Hall claims Wilson pulled a folding knife out. He was told to drop it several times but did not. According to Hall, Wilson then advanced toward him with the knife, and he shot him. Wilson succumbed to his injury a week later.
While police claim that Wilson had a knife and was lunging at the officer, the video does not show that, according to the family’s lawyer. He added that witnesses also did not see a knife.
To date, the police have no released evidence connecting Wilson to the rock throwing.
Shot Once in the Face
The video shows Wilson backing up while Hall continues toward him. Hall then fires a shot into Wilson’s face. The witness recording the video gasps, “this dude just got shot and killed.”
According to the Wilson family attorney, it took 25 minutes for emergency responders to arrive at the scene. In the interim, no law enforcement personnel attempted to render aid to Wilson.
According to the lawsuit, Hall made no effort to use reasonable de-escalation tactics. Instead, he shot Wilson in the head.
Mental Health Issues
Wilson had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia years ago, according to his parents. He was well-known to local commuters, who did not find him difficult. His mother, Diana, said her son had never been violent. She said she would refuse to view the video because she wanted to remember Tyrell as “the beautiful man he is – or was.”
DA Reviewing Incident
The information officer for Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office said the office was reviewing the incident and would determine whether criminal charges are warranted against Hall. The DA’s Office reviews all deaths in custody or by use of force.