California City Announces $4 Million Settlement in Case of Mentally Ill Black Man Shot by Police


Illustration for article titled California City Announces $4 Million Settlement in Case of Mentally Ill Black Man Shot by Police
Photo: Schmidt_Alex (Shutterstock)

On Friday, the city of Walnut Creek, Calif., announced a $4 million settlement in the federal lawsuit filed by the family of Miles Hall, a 23-year-old Black man fatally shot by the police while suffering a mental health crisis.

CNN reports that on June 2 of last year, Walnut Creek Police received multiple calls regarding Miles Hall threatening family members and wandering through his neighborhood with a metal pry bar. Four of the five people who called 911 that day had told dispatchers that Hall suffered from mental health issues.

When officers arrived at the scene Hall was out on the street with a red bandana on his face and the metal bar still in his hand. Security camera footage shows Hall running towards the police officers after they call his name. After several bean bag rounds failed to stop Hall, two officers opened fire with their weapons.

Hall died after being taken to a local hospital. An investigation by the district attorney into the shooting is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Hall’s mother, Taun, said that she had been in contact with the police long before this incident. She hoped that informing them that her son had mental health issues but had never been violent would stop a situation like this from happening.

“People still need the police, we still need them to help and answer calls,” Hall told CNN. “But I mean, is it worth it when it could result in the death of your child? I say no.”

“The police were aware that Miles was mentally impaired,” John Burris, the Hall family attorney, told CNN. “The family was engaged with the police to protect their son from being shot and killed by the police. But point of fact is, the very thing they were protecting from actually happened.”

Walnut Creek police released a video shortly after Hall had died saying that they had previously responded to multiple calls involving Miles Hall. Hall had “no significant criminal history and the majority of these incidents were handled as mental health issues and not criminally prosecuted,” Walnut Creek Police Lt. Tracie Reese said in the video.

Hall’s death has inspired city leaders to find a new solution for what responses to mental health crises look like, with county leaders currently working on a non-law enforcement program to handle non-violent mental health incidents. In a statement released alongside the settlement, the city revealed that it allocated $600,000 towards diversity and implicit bias training programs for officers and city employees, as well as the formation of a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Taun Hall said that while the settlement doesn’t mean justice for Miles, it does allow the family to focus on the work they’re doing through the Miles Hall Foundation, which is fighting to reform responses to mental health emergencies.

“Money is not going to give us peace, it’s not going to give us satisfaction,” Taun Hall told reporters at a news conference. “Justice will be when we are able to have a non-police response for the mentally ill, at least here to start in Contra Costa County. And then, it could be something... throughout the nation.”

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