By Ned Meiners
CONTRA COSTA – The District Attorney here in Contra Costa County announced Friday it will not be charging any of the officers involved in the police killing of Walnut Creek resident Miles Hall.
The family of the victim has expressed dismay at this decision.
In a statement released by the Hall family and their attorney, John Burris, the family said, “After nearly two long years of waiting anxiously for the conclusion of what we had hoped would be a thorough, unbiased, factually accurate investigation, we learned that there will be no justice and no accountability for the indefensible actions that resulted in our son’s death — at least not today.”
On the afternoon of June 2, 2019, Hall was shot by police officers in his neighborhood in Walnut Creek. According to the family, who had called officers to the scene, at the time of the incident Hall was experiencing a “mental health crisis.”
“Miles posed no threat to officers as he attempted to run to the safety of his home,” read the family’s statement, adding, “The officers fired lethal weapons with wanton disregard for his life. They flouted their responsibility to de-escalate at the scene. They escalated to gunfire within moments instead of following their department’s own protocols for interactions with people in a mental health crisis.”
In the family’s opinion, this behavior is clearly reckless and should be criminally charged. The Hall family has stressed that factors of race and mental health can prove deadly when interacting with the police.
“We know that Miles’ dual status as a young man in the throes of a mental health crisis and as a Black man made him particularly vulnerable to police violence. Miles needed care and compassion that day; instead he was met with lethal force,” said the family.
In response to the killing, the Hall family has established The Miles Hall Foundation in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and local leaders. Their mission is systematic change in how law enforcement responds to individuals with mental health challenges.
Currently, the “Miles Hall Lifeline Act”, Assembly Bill 988, is making its way through the California legislature to fund an alternative to 911 for calls for help that do not need a police response.
While it was a somber day for the Hall family, the family expressed the resolve to advocate for others who may be in the same circumstances as their son.
“We are heartbroken, yet still determined to fight for justice for Miles and for everyone who has been harmed by police brutality and denied justice in a system that stigmatizes and criminalizes people with mental illness, especially when they are Black and Brown.”
Ned Meiners is a Legal Studies student at City College San Francisco. Originally from Maine, he currently resides on Bernal Hill in San Francisco.
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