Family of mentally ill Florida man releases videos of police shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 08, 2015 7:40 PM

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - New videos showing a mentally ill Florida man being shot dead by police call into question a Miami area department's explanation of the shooting, said attorneys for the victim's family who released the footage on Wednesday.

Footage captured from within a police car at the scene show shell cases flying as a police officer shot 25-year-old Lavall Hall on Feb. 15.

Before the shooting, an officer can be heard shouting: “Get on the fucking ground or you’re dead.” Five shots followed.

Two of the bullets hit Hall, Miami Gardens police told reporters in the days after the incident, explaining that Hall had attacked officers with a broom stick.

The video does not show Hall at the moment of the shooting. Beforehand, he can be seen walking and at times running around a Miami suburb, holding a broom handle.

His attorney told reporters that he had been running away from police at one point, although he appears to chase them at another.

"They killed him, murdered him,” said Melissa Edwards, the mother of his daughter, at a news conference.

A spokesman for the Miami Gardens Police Department was not immediately available to comment.

An attorney for Eddo Trimino, the officer involved, told the Miami Herald the video indicated that he had shot out of fear.

The video was released amid national protests over a series of deaths resulting from police use of force, most recently with another video showing a white South Carolina police officer shooting an apparently unarmed black man in the back. [ID: nL2N0X50HS]

“People are saddened and angered but also exasperated that we’re again seeing the devaluation of black lives on streets of the United States,” said Muhammed Malik, organizer of the Miami Committee on State Violence.

Hall, who was black, suffered from schizophrenia. His family's attorneys told reporters the video did not reveal whether the shooting was racially motivated.

His mother, Catherine Daniels, had called officers to her home to help control him, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in the U.S. Southern District of Florida.

Daniels had previously called police for help with her son, and the department was aware of his condition, according to the complaint, which alleged excessive use of force by police and wrongful death.

“Hall was unable to communicate, clearly did not understand what was going on, and was visibly scared,” it said.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Eric Walsh)