Fontana, CA — James Hall, 47, is legally blind, mentally ill, and now dead — after being executed by police officers with the Fontana Police Department. The execution happened in a convenience store and was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras. The video also contradicts the lies police told to justify killing him.
Hall, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder — a combination of schizophrenia symptoms and mood disorder — was in the midst of an episode when police were called out to a convenience store during the early morning hours of November 22, 2015.
Police say they were responding to reports of a possible armed robbery. However, James Hall never robbed anyone and the video shows he was merely browsing the store when 5 police officers swarmed him.
The cops, who were clearly not trained in deescalating situations with mentally ill people, began yelling at him, pointing guns, and had their attack dog at the ready. All of these provocations served to only further Hall’s fears, so he refused to come out.
Several minutes pass before officers opened fire and sicced the dog on Hall, sending him into an utterly panicked state.
As the Daily Mail reports:
According to their lawsuit, Hall had been acting ‘peacefully’ when he encountered a group of Fontana PD officers outside the Chevron gas station at around 4.15am.
But the officers, the suit says, escalated the encounter and eventually ‘deployed lethal force’, killing Hall.
The suit states that one of the officers fired a shot at Hall as they entered the store and then deployed the police dog.
Hall became ‘startled’ and ran to the rear of the store where he ‘cowered’.
The suit states: ‘The Defendant officers cornered Decedent Hall in the rear of the convenience store, brandishing firearms, including an assault rifle.
‘As the Defendant officers continued to surround Decedent Hall, one of them opened fire on him, and Decedent Hall fell to the ground.’
If you read the official police account, Hall charged officers with a knife and they were forced to kill him. However, according to Hall’s family and the video, Hall was cornered and cowering when he was killed.
According to the lawsuit, Hall had been acting peacefully prior to being confronted by police. At no time had he harmed anyone or attempted to rob the store.
The family also questions the police claim of armed robbery, as Hall had been outside the store until police arrived and frightened him.
Prior to this run-in with police, Hall had never been in trouble with the law. He was well known throughout the neighborhood for his “peaceful nature” and residents were aware of his disabilities, according to the lawsuit.
“James was not observed by family, friends, or those who knew him as having violent tendencies because of his mental illness,” the lawsuit read.
In fact, a few years prior to being killed by cops, Hall was given an award by cops. In 2010, Hall was awarded a Citizen Citation from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for assisting in the rescue of a four-year-old autistic child.
Like most people, who will watch the video below, Hall’s family wants answers as to why police killed their beloved brother and son.
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the Fontana police of “operating a culture whereby the use of excessive force is encouraged.” It then accuses the force of failing to conduct an “unbiased investigation” into Hall’s death. Judging from the absence of punishment for any of the officers involved in killing Hall, his family is spot on.
“The video puts the lie to the obviously falsified police account of what happened. In fact, this was an execution,” said Mark Geragos, whose firm is representing Hall’s relatives.