Family of Fla. man outraged over release of dash-cam video of incident
(CBS Miami.com) MIAMI, Fla. – A dash cam video which shows the moments leading up to Miami Gardens police fatally shooting a mentally ill man was released to the public Wednesday afternoon.
The family’s attorney, at a press conference Wednesday ahead of the video’s release, said the family was “outraged” after watching the video.
“When you see this video, you will realize that this was not a justifiable shooting,” Glen Goldberg, Lavall Hall’s family attorney said.
The family decided to make the video public hoping for transparency.
The video, released by the attorneys, shows approximately 19 minutes of footage from cameras in two police cars.
On one of the dash cam videos, you see an officer drive by Hall’s mother who is out on the street. Hall appears to be avoiding officers when they try to get close to him. He is captured briefly on camera before he darts out of the frame.
A short time later, a police officer is heard yelling, ‘get on the ground or else your dead’ and then shots are fired.
Lavall Hall, 25, was shot on Sunday, February 15th around 5 a.m. Hall’s mother, Catherine Daniels, had called police for help after he had a psychotic episode. She said her son had been diagnosed as schizophrenic and hoped police would take him to a mental health facility.
Police said when their officers approached Hall, who was was wielding a broom handle, he became aggressive. When a Taser didn’t work, they were forced to fire, according to police.
Hall’s family attorney Glen Goldberg claims Hall was running away from the officers when he was shot.
Goldberg says the police knew they were dealing with someone who had mental issues and their actions were not appropriate to the situation.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the family’s attorney in a letter that while they couldn’t prevent the release of the video, by doing so it runs the risk of “potential contamination may compromise our common goal to seek the truth and undermine the integrity of the investigation.”
Hall’s family is suing the Miami Gardens Police Department and the two officers involved in the shooting.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said he saw parts of the video for the first time on the same day it was made public.
“I think that previously what we said as a city and what I’ve said as a mayor is that we’re going to let the law follow the facts…we released the video to the family for that reason,” Mayor Gilbert told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Gilbert sponsored a resolution asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate any police involved shootings in the city.
He said it’s now up to the State Attorneys Office to determine what happens next.
“A lot of times when these things happen people like to rush in and make statements and make judgments,” Gilbert said. “From my perspective if someone broke the law, if it’s an officer, and he breaks the law, he needs to be charged and he needs to go through the criminal justice process just like everyone else.”
He added that officers in the department undergo training to deal with the mentally ill.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera said he is glad the video was released, because he believes it shows the officer was justified in fearing for his life.
CBS4 has learned Officer Eddo Trimino is back to work and has been assigned to the training unit.
On the same day the video was released ,the family of Lavall Hall arrived at Miami Gardens City Hall hoping to get one thing from city leaders.
“Answers,” said Hall’s mother.
But after sitting through a brief meeting attended by the city’s mayor and council members, the meeting ended without mention of Hall or the police dash cam video.
Hall’s family tried to speak with Mayor Oliver Gilbert after the meeting.
“Do you justify your officer,” Daniels screamed at him.
But Gilbert left. After the meeting, Hall’s family let their feelings be known.
“I want the truth,” said Daniels. “Does he stand by his officer or he stand by his community?”
“He didn’t even care,” said Walter Pinkins. “He ran like a coward.”
Later, the mayor told CBS4 News that he can only begin to imagine the family’s grief.
“I understand the emotion and passion of the family,” Gilbert said. “If I lost my child in any respect, I would feel that way. So, it’s understandable.”
But Gilbert said the city must let investigators determine what led to the shooting of Hall and whether officer who fired at Hall was justified. As for Hall’s mother, she says she’s still awaiting those answers. A reporter asked her what she’ll do to get them.
“Keep on fighting,” she replied.