No criminal charges against ex-deputy in Tyrell Wilson's death | November 4, 2022 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 4, 2022

No criminal charges against ex-deputy in Tyrell Wilson's death

DA deems no legal or policy violation in second fatal shooting by Andrew Hall

by Jeanita Lyman

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced last Friday morning that she would not be filing charges against ex-sheriff's deputy Andrew Hall for fatally shooting Tyrell Wilson in Danville in March 2021 -- the same former officer now incarcerated after an October 2021 conviction for a prior on-duty fatality.

Becton determined following a 19-month investigation by her office that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Hall when he shot Wilson one time as the unhoused 33-year-old Black man with a history of mental illness approached Hall with a 3-inch folding knife in an intersection near a freeway overpass in Danville. Wilson died from his injuries at John Muir Medical Center two days later.

"Due to the fact that a jury could draw two reasonable conclusions regarding whether Deputy Hall is guilty of a crime, there is insufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Deputy Hall is criminally liable for his actions in the death of Tyrell Wilson," Becton said at a press conference in Martinez on Friday morning. "As such, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office will take no further action in this case at this time."

The decision means that Hall, a Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office deputy at the time assigned to the Danville Police Department, will face no penalties or time behind bars from county prosecutors for Wilson's death as he continues serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted of assault for fatally shooting Laudemer Arboleda while on duty in Danville in November 2018.

Sheriff David Livingston cleared Hall to return to duty some time after the Arboleda shooting, while the DA's office investigation into that case was still pending. Becton charged Hall with voluntary manslaughter and assault for Arboleda's death on April 21, 2021 -- a little over a month after Wilson's death. A jury found Hall guilty of assault and deadlocked on the manslaughter count.

Attorney John Burris, who represented both families of the men fatally shot by Hall in separate lawsuits against the county that netted $9.4 million combined in settlements, told the Weekly that he was "disappointed but not surprised" in the news of no charges that he and Wilson's parents received from Becton's office the day before she announced it to the public.

"We did have a young man who was mentally ill," Burris said. "The police (officer) was aggressive and the standard is was it reasonable and was it necessary, and my view is it wasn't necessary."

"He could have calmed the situation down as opposed to being confrontational," he added.

Despite not bringing charges against Hall for Wilson's death, Becton said that the decision hadn't been easy, and also called for de-escalation tactics by police as an alternative to deadly use of force during confrontations like the one between Hall and Wilson.

"In reaching this conclusion, the district attorney's office does not condone the actions of Deputy Hall in the fatal shooting of Tyrell Wilson," Becton said. "This was a difficult and challenging case. My legal team and I spent a considerable amount of time and resources evaluating the evidence before coming to this conclusion."

"As a community, we need to find ways to de-escalate law enforcement encounters where the use of force leads to tragic outcomes," she continued. "The loss of Tyrell Wilson's life weighs on our community and I express my deepest condolences to the Wilson family."

However, Becton noted that Hall had acted in accordance with both sheriff's department policies and training in effect at the time, according to the findings of a law enforcement-involved fatal incident report released by her office Friday.

The two fatal shootings by Hall are the only police-involved shootings of any kind on record in Danville since 2001.

With Becton's announcement, Burris is now at the end of a three-year journey of representing the families of both Arboleda and Wilson in legal actions against Hall, resulting in large settlements for both in civil cases against the county, and Hall's six-year sentence in the criminal charges brought by Becton last year in Arboleda's death.

Hall shot and killed 33-year-old Arboleda at the end of a slow-speed police pursuit in downtown Danville on Nov, 3, 2018. Hall shot Arboleda nine times as the Newark man tried to weave through a makeshift police car blockade at 6 mph.

Hall, who received public support from Sheriff Livingston even after conviction, remained employed by the sheriff's office until being terminated upon his felony sentencing as required by state law.

The resulting civil settlements -- for $4.9 million with Arboleda's family and $4.5 million for Wilson's family -- led to Danville setting a 10-year record for liability costs associated with the sheriff's office.

Officials with the town of Danville, the Danville Police Department, and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office had not responded to requests for comment Friday.

Editor's note: Embarcadero Media East Bay editorial director Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story.


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