The manslaughter trial of Danville officer begins – NBC Bay Area
A jury in the Contra Costa district is to decide whether a police officer in the East Bay acted in self-defense or whether he was guilty of negligent manslaughter.
In 2018, Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall shot and killed Laudemer Arboleda, who was driving away from police at the time of the shooting.
Officer Hall also made headlines last March when he shot and killed a homeless man who was holding a knife – and again claimed he shot in self-defense.
A video was shown on Monday to a twelve-person jury in a Martinez courtroom who will dissect it frame by frame.
It shows the moments that led to the fatal shooting of the driver of this silver Honda Civic, 33-year-old Laudemer Arboleda. Hall says he acted in self-defense when Arboleda refused to stop the car, but prosecutors say Arboleda maneuvered his car away from the police and says Hall acted unreasonably when he fired 10 shots and killed Arboleda.
His attorney Harry Stern said, “It feels like the weight of the world is on his shoulders. He feels bad about what happened and so there are a lot of emotions.
Hall is on paid administrative leave while on trial for negligent homicide. During Monday’s opening speech, the prosecutor told jury that Arboleda, who lived in Newark with his mother, had a mental illness.
Arboleda had no criminal record prior to the car chase in which he was shot.
“I think it’s wonderful that Diana Becton, our prosecutor, had the courage to prosecute this case,” said Veronica Benjamin.
The Danville resident founded the nonprofit Conscious Contra Costa to demand police accountability.
“We just want to show that even though we live in this very affluent white suburb, we still want the police to be accountable, we still demand that, we want this to be a safe and welcoming county for all residents.”
Back in March of this year, Officer Hall hit the headlines again after he shot a 33-year-old homeless man named Tyrell Wilson who was suffering from mental health problems and pulled out a jackknife. Hall again called for self-defense.
“Lo and behold, March 2021, he’s killing again,” said Benjamin. “Tyrell Wilson’s death was completely preventable.”
His lawyer said, “Our response will be measured and based on the science and facts of the case.”
If convicted on the two counts, the other for assault with a gun, Hall faces up to 22 years in prison.