MARTINEZ, Calif. — A sheriff’s deputy in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area was charged Wednesday with manslaughter and assault in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man during a slow-moving car pursuit through the town of Danville more than two years ago.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office announced the charges against Deputy Andrew Hall in the November 2018 killing of Laudemar Arboleda, who was shot nine times. He faces charges of felony voluntary manslaughter and felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
The charges came a month after Hall shot and killed a man who was armed with a knife, prompting sheriff’s officials to take him off patrol duties.
“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,” Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release.
Hall’s attorney, Harry Stern, said Becton’s office previously deemed Hall’s use of force 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.”
Tuesday, former police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, was convicted in the murder of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death in Minneapolis sparked national protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
Becton has been under criticism for taking so long to make a decision in the 2 1/2-year-old case, which intensified after Hall’s shooting last month.
Arboleda, 33, was killed after leading officers on a slow chase through Danville. Video released from the sheriff’s office shows Hall stopping his patrol car, getting out and running toward the sedan driven by Arboleda. He then opened fire and continued to shoot as Arboleda’s car passed by.
Hall later testified at an inquest hearing that he was afraid Arboleda would run him over.
On March 11, Hall fatally shot 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson. Police have not yet released body camera footage, but partially obstructed video shot by a bystander showed Wilson taking a step back, a knife in hand, before Hall fired.
Attorney John Burris, who is representing family members of Wilson and Arboleda, said Wilson appeared to be backing away moments before Hall fired.