Attorney releases video of Miami Gardens police shooting
Officer shouts, 'Get on the (expletive) ground or you're dead' before shooting
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A video showing the last moments before a mentally ill man was fatally shot by police in Miami Gardens was released to the public Wednesday.
Attorneys for the family of Lavall Hall, 25, spoke to reporters before releasing part of the 19-minute video.
In the video, an officer is heard yelling,"Get on the (expletive) ground or you're dead" before he started shooting. He is then heard saying, "Put your hand behind your (expletive) back" numerous times.
Family members have been fighting to have the video released, because they said it shows that there was no need for the officer to shoot and kill him.
"The officers made up their minds that they were going to kill him," attorney Glen Goldberg said.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Miami-Dade County's state attorney said she couldn't prevent lawyers from releasing the video, but Katherine Fernandez Rundle warned that "this potential contamination may compromise our common goal to seek truth and ultimately undermine the integrity of the investigation."
Goldberg said he advised Hall's family to not discuss the video in its entirety as to not jeopardize the investigation.
"I was devastated to see that it happened like that," Hall's mother Catherine Daniels said. "I wish I could bring him back."
"I was outraged; furious," added family member Melissa. "They killed him, murdered him. They knew they were going to murder him before (the shooting). They should be held accountable for their actions."
In February, Hall was having a violent episode when his mother called 911, hoping police would place him under the care of a mental facility under provisions of the Baker Act.
Police said when officers arrived at the scene, Hall was carrying a broomstick and attacked Officer Eddy Trimino, who eventually shot Hall.
But Goldberg said the video proves that the officers were not in danger, because Hall is seen running away from the officers each time they tried to approach him. The officer is also seen shooting in a downward trajectory.
"You can see Lavall Hall was running away in the 60 seconds before he was shot," said attorney Judd Rosen.
"There was no altercation going on at the time," Goldberg added. "This man was murdered by these police officers in Miami Gardens, Florida."
A NAACP representative said anyone who was "not in the right state of mind" and those who "are in the right state of mind" may react by running away if they are cornered.
"The most telling part for me was when she (Hall's mother) said, 'Don't hurt my child,'" another NAACP representative added.
Goldberg said two of the five bullets struck Hall, but authorities have not released Hall's autopsy report to him or the family.
Goldberg said no law enforcement agency has contacted the family and none of them know who is in charge of the investigation into Hall's death.
Both the attorneys and the NAACP said it is unclear whether the shooting was racially motivated, but said it is a matter "of what is right and what is wrong."
The incident has enraged the community, causing a massive outcry about the Miami Gardens Police Department.
Goldberg said he wants the community to remain peaceful following the video's release.
"We just want everyone to understand what transpired," Goldberg said.
Attorneys said they have not received dash cam video from any of the other police cars that were at the scene of the shooting.
Hall's mother and family are now suing the department.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert released a statement Wednesday, saying the city "released video from the dashboard camera of a city vehicle, as well as the video from the rear camera of a city of Miami Gardens vehicle that captured the moments surrounding Mr. Hall's death. The city's position remains unchanged. The law should follow the facts. The office of the state attorney will evaluate all of the physical, forensic, as well as testimonial evidence and make a determination regarding criminal charges. The law will apply to everyone."
Police declined to comment on the open investigation.
Emotions for the family were already running high when they signed up to speak at Wednesday night's council meeting. They'd long asked for the video to be released and they were hoping to press for more information to be made public when things got out of hand.
Hours after the release of the video came the cries of injustice from a grieving family to the city's mayor.
"Do you hold accountable for what your officer did? Answer my question please," Daniels said.
The question went answered, but the spectacle of the night was only beginning.
"Mayor are you running? Why are you running? I asked you, 'Do you justify your officer in the right?'" asked Daniels.
Minutes earlier, Gilbert and commissioners tackled Wednesday night's agenda seemingly without public comment. The city later said the period passed by the time the family took their seat and the media had set up.
"He has an opportunity to answer any questions and he didn't. He ran," said family attorney Brett Rosen. "You guys tried to ask him the questions and he turned his back on you."
In a scene that would be comical if not for the seriousness of the issue, police kept the media from going upstairs to the mayor's office, a standoff that came to an end when the mayor agreed to see media individually.
"I have an open-door policy," Gilbert said.
"Not tonight, you didn't," Local 10's Carlos Suarez said.
"Well, actually if you call and make an appointment," said Gilbert.
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