The police bullets that took the life of an Asian American teen who suffered a mental health crisis in December have been ruled justified by the Monroe County District Attorney in Pennsylvania.
State police fired seven shots that killed Christian Hall, 19, when he wound up on the bridge at the Route 33 southbound overpass over I-80 in Hamilton Township on Dec. 30.
Police responded to find Hall standing on top of a concrete safety barrier, holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic firearm. As it turned out, the “weapon” was an airsoft pellet gun made to resemble a pistol.
“He doesn’t jump, but he waits after he calls 911 for the troopers and at all times he acts like that gun he has is real and they certainly believe it,” First Assistant District Attorney Mike Mancuso said, according to WBRE.
The officers were able to convince Hall to put his weapon down, but he grabbed it back and walked 90 feet toward the police.
19yo Christian Hall needed HELP. On 12/30, he experienced a mental health crisis and @PAStatePolice were called to assist. Instead of helping Christian, deputies fatally shot him with his hands raised. This is NOT how cops should handle mental health crises! #JusticeForChristian pic.twitter.com/QVDggTq44u
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 3, 2021
One officer reportedly fired several rounds but did not hit Hall. The teen then raised his arms but did not drop his weapon.
It was at that moment when the officers launched a second series of bullets that killed Hall — which the DA says is justified.
“The use of against Christian Hall, deadly force by Pennsylvania State Police was justified under the circumstances due to Hall’s actions which created a threat of death or bodily injury,” said Mancuso.
The office also left a message for Hall’s parents. “We’re sorry for your loss, we can’t imagine the impact that has had on you. We don’t believe you should blame yourself for anything, along the lines of what happened,” Mancuso said. “CJ had a lot of mental health issues and in the end, they were too much for him.”
Christian Hall needed help with a mental health emergency! He CRIED OUT for help, and in return @PAStatePolice shot him MULTIPLE TIMES as he surrendered with his hands up! pic.twitter.com/vjr8OWZ80l
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) March 31, 2021
Lawyers of the Hall family held a press conference on Wednesday in response to the DA’s investigation results. Attorney Devon Jacob called for more transparency.
“The ADA correctly stated that the use of force inquiry considers the totality of the circumstances without the benefit of hindsight. The totality of the circumstances, however, only includes information known to the troopers at the time when the force was used,” Jacob said, according to the Pocono Record.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is also representing George Floyd’s family, called Hall’s raising of hands as the “universal sign of surrender.”
“So why continue to shoot and kill a person who’s put their hands up in surrender?” he questioned.
The Hall family is asking for the case to be referred to the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro for an independent investigation.
Feature Images via Ben Crump (left; screenshot), Gareth J. Hall (right)