On Nov. 22, 2015, police in Fontana, California, received a call about a possible robbery at a gas station and suspect armed with a knife.
In their initial statements, the cops said they found a man, later identified as James Hall, standing outside the store when they arrived. Hall, who was allegedly holding a knife and a rock, retreated inside when he saw the officers.
The cops claimed they tried to talk him into surrendering, but “he advanced on officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred.”
However, the recently released surveillance footage of the deadly incident contradicts the department’s earlier statement.
The graphic nine-minute clip showed five heavily armed officers with a police dog enter the Chevron Station and engage in a standoff with the victim – a 47-year-old legally blind and mentally ill man — whom the cops successfully managed to corner at the back of the store without any apparent altercation.
Hall, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, appeared agitated as he tried to hide behind the shelves. He could be seen shuffling to the right, not towards the police, when he fell down, shot by one of the officers.
Since the video is blurry, it is a little hard to determine if the victim was holding anything in his hands at the time.
“It’s a disturbing video indictment of the officers,” said Mark Geragos, the attorney representing Hall’s relatives. “The video puts the lie to the obviously falsified police account of what happened. In fact, this was an execution.”
The footage has raised serious concerns about police conduct, particularly when it comes to mentally ill individuals.
James Hall’s tragic death is one of many incidents of police brutality, where officers failed to determine the suspect was mentally ill or failed to control the situation, resulting in a shootout.
Meanwhile, Fontana Police Department has refused to comment on the new evidence, citing ongoing litigation.
“With this said, we can all recognize this was a tragic and unfortunate event for everyone involved. As such, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and anyone impacted by this incident,” the statement said. “We have every confidence in the investigative process and await the conclusion.”
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters,YouTube Screengrab