A Florida family says they want a new investigation after a Miami Gardens police officer was cleared in the shooting death of their mentally ill loved one last week.
Twenty-five-year-old Lavall Hall was shot and killed by officer Eddo Trimino last February after his mother called 911 for help with her son, who was schizophrenic and having a mental episode.
Former police chief Stephen Johnson said at the time that Trimino opened fire after Hall attacked two officers with a broomstick but lawyer Glen Goldberg said dash-cam video recorded from the scene contradicts that narrative.
“It is a bombshell, it does not corroborate what the City of Miami Gardens police chief had said,” Goldberg has said.
In the video, Hall’s mother Catherine Daniels can be heard begging officers “please, don’t hurt my child, please” off-camera, before an officer is heard saying, “he’s walking with a broom and he’s walking around in his underwear. Ever time I go near him, he walks away.”
“I was devastated to see that it happened like that,” Daniels said. “They took my baby for no reason.”
Though the shooting was not completely captured on screen, the footage appears to show the officer firing downward suggesting Hall was already on the ground.
Watch the raw footage:
The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and police department and has enlisted the help of the NAACP who have pointed out that the incident was not the first time Hall’s mother called police to the home. Just one week prior, cops were called and Hall was safely committed under the Baker Act.
On Thursday, Miami-Dade prosecutors announced that they would not charge Trimino and deemed his use of force justifiable because the officer warned Hall to get on the ground and told him that if he didn’t, he’d open fire.
“My son had an episode, and he just had got out the hospital,” Daniels said. “If I would have known it was going to happen like that I would have never called them.”
The incident illustrates the problems of turning to police to deal with mental ill individuals who are often killed or brutalized during the encounters. Attorneys for the family say that police need to be more properly trained to handle mentally ill or mentally challenged subjects.
“The training that police officers have to have is unique for the mentally ill,” Goldberg said. “You don’t treat them like a felon… you have to treat them in a specific way.”
The family has reportedly sent requests to the federal Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the killing and their civil suit is still pending in the case.
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