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Miami-Dade NAACP backs family of mentally ill man killed by police

Chapter promises Lavall Hall's family it will help seek answers

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The shooting death of a 25-year-old mentally ill man at the hands of police now has the attention of the nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization.

The Miami-Dade County chapter of the NAACP has promised Lavall Hall's family it will help seek answers.

"We do see that there's a need to look at this," said Eric Pettus, a member of the group's executive board. "This is a bigger issue and a bigger concern than a Miami Gardens issue. This is an overall interaction with people who have mental challenges."

Leaders of the organization have met with Hall's family, including his grieving mother. The Hall family has also retained an attorney.

Hall's mother, Christine Daniels, called Miami Gardens police early Sunday morning for help with taking her son to a mental health facility. Instead, the man was shot to death by an officer.

Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson told reporters this week that Hall charged at two of his officers and attacked them with a broomstick.

The officers deployed their stun guns in vain and one officer fired his weapon five times. Two bullets hit Hall, fatally injuring the mentally ill man.

"Why does a broom end up triggering a gunshot?" said Brad Brown, first vice president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP. "This is not a criminal with a firearm who is trying to shoot at police, this is a man who was mentally disturbed. You genuinely would want to not push too far."

Few details have trickled out since the incident. A portion of the confrontation was captured on dashcam video from a Miami Gardens police cruiser, though the video has not been released publicly.

Incident reports that detail crimes, which officers are required to fill out internally, have also not been made available to reporters or the public.

The NAACP will now push for a face-to-face meeting with Johnson to discuss the importance of a fair and transparent investigation.

"In this day and age with all the things that have happened, I think that it's a lot easier and better for police departments to look at how to build the trust in the process, and sometimes that's opening the doors and saying, 'Come in and look at this,'" said Pettus. "I think there's a training issue and I think that there's a procedural issue that needs to be addressed as well."

Follow Terrell Forney on Twitter @TVTerrell

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