The parents of Christian Hall, the 19-year-old who was shot to death by Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.
The family’s attorneys, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his co-counsel Devon Jacob, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday.
On December 30, 2020, Hall was confronted by police while holding a BB gun at a freeway overpass in Monroe county. His family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis.
The Monroe County DA’s office released video footage of the incident. The video from the DA’s office showed Hall raising his hands after police fired warning shots but blurred the last few seconds before Hall was killed.
Attorneys for the Hall family were eventually able to obtain the full video. The unedited footage revealed that Hall had his hands in the air for 14 seconds in total, NBC News reports. His hands were still in the air when state troopers shot him.
In a statement issued on the day the wrongful death lawsuit was filed, Crump and Jacob say the DA’s office allowed the PSP to investigate itself and publish a misleading PowerPoint that cleared the state trooper who shot Hall. The family’s attorneys also claim that the PSP tried to force Hall’s parents into a confidentiality agreement after they served the PSP commissioner with a subpoena to obtain the unredacted footage of their son’s death.
“What happened to Christian and his parents is not excusable,” the attorneys said in a statement. “Government should always be accountable to the people. The Pennsylvania Legislature must provide the Pennsylvania Attorney General with the legal authority to investigate deaths caused by law enforcement officers. The Legislature must also act to remove the cloak of secrecy under which law enforcement in this Commonwealth is permitted to operate as a result of the Criminal History Records Information Act (“CHRIA”) and the exceptions to Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.”
Michael Mancuso, the Deputy District Attorney for Monroe County, called the lawsuit “frivolous” in an emailed statement to WPVI. He said the shooting was justified.
“The attempts by the attorneys to mislead the public and now the filing of a frivolous suit against the DA’s Office is yet another example that they are motivated not by the pursuit of justice but the allure of monetary gain,” Mancuso said via email.
Crump and Jacob also represented George Floyd’s family. They say they intend to obtain justice for Christian Hall like they did for Floyd.
“Just like George Floyd’s unlawful homicide, the involved Troopers who committed this unlawful homicide took time to deliberate before they decided to end Christian Hall’s life,” Crump and Jacob said in a statement. “We obtained justice for George Floyd and we will obtain justice for Christian Hall.”
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