A lawyer for the family of a homeless Black man fatally shot last month by an East Bay police officer has said that a video serves as proof that the shooting was unjustified — a claim disputed by the police officer’s lawyer.
The video recorded by a bystander to the March 11 shooting of Tyrell Wilson, 32, by Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle Monday. Wilson had been staying near a public parking lot used by carpoolers.
It shows the two facing one another in the community of Danville, standing feet apart. Hall appears to move toward Wilson, as Wilson appears to step backward. Hall points his gun at Wilson, who is facing him and then Hall shoots once, the video shows. Wilson collapses on his back and Hall stands over him.
"I think about my child it makes me cry....I want everyone to know he was a good man," said Wilson's mother, Diane Wilson.
"I just don’t want another parent to go through this ever again. I don’t know how this is going to stop so we don’t keep killing our black and brown men."
Danville police said Hall had responded after dispatchers received reports of a person throwing rocks from an overpass onto Highway 680. When Hall arrived, he saw Wilson standing in the street, police have said. The police released still photographs that show Wilson holding a bag in his left hand and a folding knife in his right hand.
They said that Hall gave commands for Wilson to drop the knife and that Wilson advanced toward Hall, prompting Hall to shoot.
The video does not show Wilson make any sudden moves toward the officer.
Wilson died on March 17 at a hospital. Civil rights attorney John Burris, who represents Wilson’s family, said that after seeing the body, he concluded that Hall had shot Wilson in the face.
“The video and witness accounts show this was a cold murder. Wilson never had a chance,” Burris said in a statement.
The new video has prompted Wilson’s family to file the federal civil rights lawsuit against the Danville police department.
They note the same police officer shot and killed another man in 2018 during a daytime slow speed chase.
"The question is how long and how many does it take? How many people does he kill before we recognize and appreciate this man is a menace," Burris said.
The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office, which contracts to provide police services in Danville, is working with District Attorney Diana Becton to investigate the shooting.
Hall is on paid administrative leave and has requested a new assignment outside of Danville, which is pending, his attorney Michael Rains said.
Rains said the video “tells nothing about what occurred there,” because it is shaky and shot from an odd angle and because a road sign obscures critical movements that preceded the shooting.