The family of Tyrell Wilson, the homeless man shot and killed by Danville police Officer Andrew Hall last month, has filed a lawsuit against Hall, the town of Danville, and its police chief, Allan Shields.
Wilson’s family says the 32-year-old African American man had schizophrenia and was carrying a grocery bag on the southwest corner of the Sycamore Valley Road overpass of Interstate 680 when confronted from behind by Hall.
The officer — who also shot and killed a man while on duty in 2018 — was responding to reports of a man throwing rocks from the overpass onto the freeway.
Jimmy Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office from which Danville contracts for police service, has said Wilson pulled out a folding knife when confronted by Hall. Wilson allegedly moved toward Hall, who shot him once.
The lawsuit says witnesses reported Wilson was moving away from Hall when he was shot. Wilson died in the hospital the following week. Hall was placed on paid leave.
Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing Wilson’s family, said in a statement Tuesday there is no evidence Wilson was the one throwing rocks. The lawsuit says Wilson held “a small knife at his side.”
“A newly discovered video shot by the driver of a car stopped just yards away showed Officer Hall shockingly shoot Wilson in the face,” the statement said. “The officer later claimed that Wilson had a knife and that he threatened him with a knife, and thus he shot him.”
Danville Public Information Officer Geoff Gillette referred comment to the Sheriff’s Office. Lee did not immediately return a message asking for comment.
Filed March 30 in U.S. District Court, the lawsuit says no one from law enforcement administered first aid to Wilson, and paramedics did not arrive for nearly 25 minutes. It also says Hall did not use de-escalation techniques or available non-lethal measures, and there was plenty of space for him to evade Wilson if he felt threatened.
The suit also says witnesses said Hall repeatedly yelled for Wilson to “get up,” after the shooting.
Burris also represented the family of 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda, who was shot and killed by Hall on Nov. 3, 2018. Arboleda allegedly tried driving his vehicle between two law enforcement vehicles. A Sheriff’s Office investigation determined the shooting was legal.
Arboleda’s mother filed a lawsuit, which is still pending.
The lawsuit accuses Shields of failing to “discipline, retrain, or otherwise remediate” Hall after shooting Arboleda. It also accuses the police of declining to release body camera video.
The incident prompted more than 100 protesters to march through downtown Danville to the police department on March 28.