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Judge orders Danville police officer to stand trial for manslaughter in on-duty shooting

Firearm charge dismissed for lack of proof during preliminary hearing

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall, center, heads into his preliminary hearing at the A. F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez on July 20 for the death of Laudemer Arboleda. (Photo by Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall will stand trial on voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda, but a judge threw out the charge of assault with a semi-automatic weapon, saying at a preliminary hearing Tuesday the prosecutor didn't adequately prove the gun used was technically semi-automatic.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said there was not enough evidence showing Hall's claim of self-defense in firing 10 bullets at Arboleda was legitimate to warrant dismissing the manslaughter charge before trial. Hall's defense team argued Arboleda was driving his car at Hall, and the shooting may have saved the officer's life.

Laudemer Arboleda’s mother, Jeannie Atienza, enters the at the A. F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez on July 20 for Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall’s preliminary hearing. Hall was ordered to stand trial for killing Arboleda. (Photo by Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Mockler said there wasn't enough evidence that Arboleda was committing a violent felony, nor had a violent history.

"The car itself was not aimed at Deputy Hall," Mockler said.

Hall, who was working as a Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputy assigned to the Danville Police Department at the time under the town's contract for police services, will be formally arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Aug. 9.

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Hall, who previously pleaded not guilty last month, is currently out of custody and on paid administrative leave from the sheriff's office.

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday in Martinez, assistant district attorney Chris Walpole showed the court video footage from multiple police cameras during the Nov. 3, 2018, chase. Police responded to reports of a suspicious man knocking on doors.

Arboleda, 33, stopped, then drove away from police at least three times on the footage -- twice with at least one officer drawing his gun without firing. One of the officers was heard clearly saying not to shoot, before Arboleda drove away again. At one point, an officer was heard saying if the chase got near downtown, he would call it off.

The incident ended at the intersection of Diablo Road and Front Street, with two police units behind Arboleda's gray Honda Civic, and two in front, including Hall's. There was enough space to drive between the police cars, which Arboleda tried doing when Hall opened fire from the front driver's side of Arboleda's car, hitting the Newark man nine times.

Mockler said the footage showed Arboleda started maneuvering between the police cars while Hall was still behind his own car.

The videotape, shown in open court in front of members of Arboleda's family, appeared to show Hall not taking cover before shooting, but stepping back as the car got closer. An officer in the car on the other side of Arboleda was still in his vehicle.

After Arboleda was shot, his car proceeded through the intersection and struck at least one other westbound car before stopping against the Diablo Road curb. Officers broke the driver's side window to get to Arboleda, who was slumped against the seat.

Hall's lawyer Harry Stern said other officers at the scene told investigators they feared for Hall's safety as Arboleda drove away. Stern said the fact that the car didn't hit Hall may have proved the shooting was a necessary, split-second decision

"Deputy Hall absolutely had the right to defend himself," Stern said, adding that officers made it clear throughout it was a serious situation and Arbodela needed to stop.

Walpole said it wasn't "a high-speed pursuit by any stretch of the imagination," but "a slow pursuit based on ringing some doorbells." He also played dispatch audio, which went long stretches without any talking, which he said indicated police did not consider the chase very dangerous.

Walpole said Hall "charged into the situation" and could've shot the officer on the other side of Arboleda's car.

"(Arboleda) didn't need to die," Walpole said. "This shouldn't have happened."

A sheriff's office investigation after the 2018 incident cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced it was pressing charges in the 2018 case after Hall was involved in a second shooting earlier this year.

On March 11, Hall responded to reports of a man throwing rocks onto Interstate 680 from the Sycamore Valley Road overpass. The sheriff's office said 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson approached Hall near the overpass with a folding knife, arguing Hall shot Wilson in self-defense. The shooting is still being investigated.

The families of the deceased in both incidents said the men suffered from mental health issues.

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Judge orders Danville police officer to stand trial for manslaughter in on-duty shooting

Firearm charge dismissed for lack of proof during preliminary hearing

by /

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 4:48 pm
Updated: Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 8:45 am

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall will stand trial on voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda, but a judge threw out the charge of assault with a semi-automatic weapon, saying at a preliminary hearing Tuesday the prosecutor didn't adequately prove the gun used was technically semi-automatic.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said there was not enough evidence showing Hall's claim of self-defense in firing 10 bullets at Arboleda was legitimate to warrant dismissing the manslaughter charge before trial. Hall's defense team argued Arboleda was driving his car at Hall, and the shooting may have saved the officer's life.

Mockler said there wasn't enough evidence that Arboleda was committing a violent felony, nor had a violent history.

"The car itself was not aimed at Deputy Hall," Mockler said.

Hall, who was working as a Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputy assigned to the Danville Police Department at the time under the town's contract for police services, will be formally arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Aug. 9.

Hall, who previously pleaded not guilty last month, is currently out of custody and on paid administrative leave from the sheriff's office.

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday in Martinez, assistant district attorney Chris Walpole showed the court video footage from multiple police cameras during the Nov. 3, 2018, chase. Police responded to reports of a suspicious man knocking on doors.

Arboleda, 33, stopped, then drove away from police at least three times on the footage -- twice with at least one officer drawing his gun without firing. One of the officers was heard clearly saying not to shoot, before Arboleda drove away again. At one point, an officer was heard saying if the chase got near downtown, he would call it off.

The incident ended at the intersection of Diablo Road and Front Street, with two police units behind Arboleda's gray Honda Civic, and two in front, including Hall's. There was enough space to drive between the police cars, which Arboleda tried doing when Hall opened fire from the front driver's side of Arboleda's car, hitting the Newark man nine times.

Mockler said the footage showed Arboleda started maneuvering between the police cars while Hall was still behind his own car.

The videotape, shown in open court in front of members of Arboleda's family, appeared to show Hall not taking cover before shooting, but stepping back as the car got closer. An officer in the car on the other side of Arboleda was still in his vehicle.

After Arboleda was shot, his car proceeded through the intersection and struck at least one other westbound car before stopping against the Diablo Road curb. Officers broke the driver's side window to get to Arboleda, who was slumped against the seat.

Hall's lawyer Harry Stern said other officers at the scene told investigators they feared for Hall's safety as Arboleda drove away. Stern said the fact that the car didn't hit Hall may have proved the shooting was a necessary, split-second decision

"Deputy Hall absolutely had the right to defend himself," Stern said, adding that officers made it clear throughout it was a serious situation and Arbodela needed to stop.

Walpole said it wasn't "a high-speed pursuit by any stretch of the imagination," but "a slow pursuit based on ringing some doorbells." He also played dispatch audio, which went long stretches without any talking, which he said indicated police did not consider the chase very dangerous.

Walpole said Hall "charged into the situation" and could've shot the officer on the other side of Arboleda's car.

"(Arboleda) didn't need to die," Walpole said. "This shouldn't have happened."

A sheriff's office investigation after the 2018 incident cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced it was pressing charges in the 2018 case after Hall was involved in a second shooting earlier this year.

On March 11, Hall responded to reports of a man throwing rocks onto Interstate 680 from the Sycamore Valley Road overpass. The sheriff's office said 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson approached Hall near the overpass with a folding knife, arguing Hall shot Wilson in self-defense. The shooting is still being investigated.

The families of the deceased in both incidents said the men suffered from mental health issues.

Comments

Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 21, 2021 at 9:14 am
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 9:14 am

From the Article:

"A sheriff's office investigation after the 2018 incident cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced it was pressing charges in the 2018 case after Hall was involved in a second shooting earlier this year."

Beyond prosecuting Hall, the DA's office needs to open a "transparent investigation" of the process by which Hall was "absolved of any wrongdoing" by the Sheriff's Dept. And by transparent, making public the names of the decision makers, since their decision in this case caused the death of another individual earlier this year under what appears to be similar circumstances. These deaths should not be allowed to be swept under the rug by the Sheriff.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:32 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:32 pm

Similar circumstances? You can’t tell the difference between the two incidents? Surely you jest.


Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 22, 2021 at 9:23 am
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 9:23 am

No Malcolm, I can clearly see the similarities! In both cases, a citizen died needlessly at the hands of a trigger happy cop. A man, who appears to have absolutely no compassion for another human being. So much to say, I am not a "bootlicker" when it comes to law enforcement. There are no "do overs" when a human being is killed. It would be interesting to see how you react if, God forbid, a cop took the life of someone you loved. I will bet you you would "sing" a different tune. You give yourself a pass here because nether of the dead in these wrongful deaths mean anything to you!
And as I wrote, something needs to be done to take corrective action with the Sheriff's Department's use of deadly force protocols. The very idea that the Sheriff put Hall back on the street to needlessly kill another human being is chilling, and he personally needs to be made accountable for the behavior of those who work under him. As always, the fish stinks from the head.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Oh boy…

You can “clearly” see the similarities in both cases? No, you mean you perceive what you think is a similarity in both cases.

Better yet, let’s pretend you are Officer Hall. You receive a call to investigate an individual who is throwing rocks from a freeway overpass onto traffic below.

You approach the suspect and ask him to clear the intersection. The suspect fails to leave the intersection and then turn towards you producing a knife.

Okay Officer Paul Clark, what would you do? Hmm? Don’t backtrack now. Answer the question?






Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:50 pm
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Malcolm, I have much more pressing things to be doing than to "spar" with you. Let 's let the court decide this issue. Have a nice day!


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 22, 2021 at 11:00 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Pressure changes everything doesn't it?

I knew you wouldn't answer my question because you have no idea how you would handle that situation.

It appears your "clarity" lacks the reality of the incident.


Local Man
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 23, 2021 at 10:13 am
Local Man, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2021 at 10:13 am

Hey Malcom haven’t weighed in on your clueless posts in a while but I will answer your question since Paul won’t If I were a trained police officer I would use my training recognize that this mentally ill man is not a threat and de-escalate the situation while not killing him. That is the way 99.99% of the police would have handled it By the book. Clearly Officer Hall has shown he does not have what it takes to be a police officer and it has cost two people their lives


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 23, 2021 at 1:11 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2021 at 1:11 pm


At Local Man

Not much to say here except that you and Paul Clark failed to specifically state how you would have handled the situation.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 24, 2021 at 7:41 am
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 24, 2021 at 7:41 am

Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a brief analysis of Local Man’s latest tantrum.

What is the difference between a trained police officer vs a police officer? There appears to be a redundancy in Local Man’s thought process. But I digress…

Local Man said that he would use his training to recognize that a knife wielding suspect is not a threat.

Local Man apparently has no experience as a peace officer, yet claims that 99.99% would have handled the situation by the book. What book? The Sheriff department’s Use of Force policy defines threat levels, which apparently Local Mindless fails to address.


Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 25, 2021 at 9:07 am
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 25, 2021 at 9:07 am

To Local Man,

As Ronald Reagan said, you can't believe what Liberals say because so much of what they believe isn't true. I don't know Malcolm's politics, it doesn't matter, but applied more broadly, what RR said is applicable to the way Malcolm sees things. And thank you for stating the obvious as to what a well-trained police officer would have done in the two instances where Hall chose to take someone's life without, what to me looks to me to be just cause to do so. Having at your disposal the means to take another human being's life carries with it the obligation to not use it unless it is absolutely necessary. I have seen the video of the shooting of the second victim He was yards away from Hall when Hall shot him. He did not present a threat to Hall's life. I believe in the Second Amendment, but it was included in the Constitution as a deterrent against an oppressive government. The Police have had a "carve out" on the 2A, but too many of them use it as a "green light" to needlessly harm unarmed citizens, with the full knowledge that their agency will find a way to justify their action.Indeed, had Hall not killed a second citizen, he would have gotten away with the first killing. And that is why there needs to be an open investigation of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department's "use of deadly force policy," including the investigative process. Hall was given a "pass" by the Sheriff, and was allowed to return to duty. Just who made that determination needs to been subjected to the scrutiny of the citizens of Danville, and Contra Costa County for that matter. So much to say, our Sheriff won't issue an ordinary citizen a Concealed Weapons Permit ( that is unless you are "special") but it appears he's o.k. with putting a killer in a uniform back on the street to take another life. You can be absolutely certain if you or I had shot and killed someone under similar circumstances, there would have been a very OPEN investigation.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jul 25, 2021 at 3:41 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jul 25, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Huh? I thought Pauly had more pressing issues than to spar with me. Welp, some folks just can't help themselves I guess.

Paul, you're all over the map with that last rant. How the 2A, CCW's, and the late great Ronald Reagan come in to play in your latest post is confusing. Focus man, focus.

One question I have though: what's the difference between an investigation and a very open investigation?

Internal Affairs investigations are closed from the get go, as well as any criminal investigation. There is also the possibilty of the DOJ getting involved should the case warrant further investigation. So, the open case claim mute.








D
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 30, 2021 at 7:08 am
D, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 30, 2021 at 7:08 am

" I would use my training to recognize that this mentally ill man is not a threat...".

So, this police officer is suppose to "use his training" in the 5 seconds he had with this guy who was approaching him with a knife to "recognize that this mentally ill man is not a threat...".

A board certified psychiatrist would need at least 2 hours with this guy to conduct a cursory analysis of his mental state, but you expect this police officer to do it in 5 seconds?

Moreover, assuming he is "mentally ill", does that make him more or less likely to try to stab the police officer with his knife? If a "mentally ill" person stabs you with a knife, does it do less physical damage to the police officer than if a "sane" person stabs you?

I would argue that a "mentally ill" person is more unpredictable, less rational, and less likely to follow the behavior predicted in your "training manual", and thus a bigger threat to the officer than a "sane" person.

The attitudes of these Monday morning quarterbacks is exactly why there is such a shortage of people applying to be police officers in our country. What "sane" person would want to work in an environment where the public has no empathy for you risking your life every single day to protect complete strangers. @Paul Clark, and @local man, what would you tell your son or daughter if they wanted to work in law enforcement?....Between "de-fund the police", and your unrealistic expectations for law enforcement, the crime statistics are starting to drastically increase, and will continue, until common sense and empathy for the brave men and woman of law enforcement returns.


Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 31, 2021 at 11:18 am
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 31, 2021 at 11:18 am

To Local Man:

We should stop feeding these guys here. It is obvious that the other two individuals on this thread have no compassion for human life ( a police officer's wellbeing appearing to be their only contravention).
And while I surely don't want anyone, including a police officer to be injured (or worse), seemingly, these guys just want to make sure that the "cop goes home" and he or she should be free to do "whatever it takes" to make that happen irrespective of the actual circumstances.. My bet is that they are retired cops who are siting at home wishing they were "back in the fight." George Patton's image comes to mind.
Hopefully, our Justice System here in Contra Costa County will try Hall and that a jury of his peers will decide the question of his guilt or innocence. And whatever that decision is, I will be fine with it. That said, I still think the "cloak of secrecy" surrounding "personnel matters" in the Sheriff's Dept. needs to be lifted where the public conduct of the officer being "investigated" is concerned. Protecting the officer being investigated's privacy should be trumped by the citizens right to know. At least the record of the investigation should be always made public. Law Enforcement, in general, "circles the wagons where their own" are concerned. The concerns of the citizenry to know the truth is circumscribed by their need to "protect each other," and that needs to come to an end. Hall got a "pass" from someone, and as a consequence another person died needlessly.


D
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 31, 2021 at 12:52 pm
D, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 31, 2021 at 12:52 pm

@Paul Clark- On another thread, you were crying about the Town of Danville not taking care of your street, El Pintado, and called a Town employee a liar. You are just like Barbara Boxer- she supports de-fund the police, constantly supports the rights of criminals over law abiding citizens, until someone pushes her in Oakland and steals her cell phone. Suddenly, she is concerned about crime victims, gets the FBI involved, and the city offers a reward for information about the crime. Where was she when people were getting shot and killed every week in Oakland? Why was there no FBI involvement or rewards from the city when non-politicians were getting killed? But when it involves her and simply the loss of a cell phone, suddenly she gets the FBI and rewards from the city!

How about we start moving all the homeless people who are throwing rocks and carrying knives onto your street, Paul Clark? How much "compassion" would you have for them throwing rocks at your car and coming at you with knifes? You literally were crying about your own street simply not being "maintained" to your satisfaction, which led to you calling a town employee a "liar". You would be the first person crying for the police when they came to your own street.


Paul Clark
Registered user
Danville
on Jul 31, 2021 at 3:07 pm
Paul Clark, Danville
Registered user
on Jul 31, 2021 at 3:07 pm

Dear "D":

To compare me to Babs, "Call Me Senator" Boxer is the penultimate insult! I plan on taking a six-pack to her gravesite. To equate my concerns about the condition of a road where the safety of the people who live and walk up here along it to my comments about Officer Hall defies a reasoned response. Suffice it to say you are evidently one who finds it necessary to consciously suspend disbelief to make the conjoined statements you made.
By all the available information, Hall committed what may well be adjudicated to be felony criminal acts. Thankfully, he is not representative of the vast majority of peace officers.
As for my comments regarding our former Public Works Director, Steve Lake, I am not alone in my assessment of his behavior. Virtually all the people who live on or reach their homes via El Pintado Rd. will tell you a similar stories about Lake and the Town as it relates to the maintenance of El Pintado. But perhaps one needs to look behind Town Employees at those whom we have elected, because the have had a 40 year "hearing problem." The Town inherited the road in the condition in which remains in today from Contra Costa County upon incorporation, and all we've had is lip service and lies about their "plans." I will be surprised if they actually spend the money that they claim to have allocated. Based on one "story" Lake pedaled to us, The "taxes and fees" collected from those who actually live on El Pintado that were supposed to fund the road improvements years ago. Now one has to wonder what the Town actually did with that money? I guess I could deal with someone from the Town being honest and just telling us we do not have the money, but it's always been "let's just feed these people some BS and hope they go away."
Oh, and lastly, the other canard they use is "matching funds." Somehow "matching funds" can't go for residential road maintenance, but they get used to "fix up" the downtown business district. Funny how that is?


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Aug 1, 2021 at 10:05 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Aug 1, 2021 at 10:05 pm

Uh oh, Pauly Clark just became judge and jury - yet he said back in a previous post dated July 21, 2021:

“Let 's let the court decide this issue.”

But in his latest post, Pauly C stated the following:

“By all the available information, Hall committed what may well be adjudicated to be felony criminal acts.”

But I digress…

Pauly C believes that a mentally ill person with a weapon is different from a normal person with a weapon. Got news for you Pauly, it’s much harder to negotiate with a mentally ill person. The man with the knife shown stepping towards Officer Hall was shot because he produced an instrument that can cause death - just like a hammer, steak knife, baseball bat, etc.

But here’s the kicker: OFFICER HALL UNHOLSTERED HIS FIREARM ONLY AFTER THE SUSPECT WALKED TOWARDS HIM WITH A KNIFE.

I’ve asked this question before: what would you have done Pauly? Huh? D is right, you’re a Monday morning quarterback.


Malcolm Hex
Registered user
San Ramon
on Aug 5, 2021 at 4:55 pm
Malcolm Hex, San Ramon
Registered user
on Aug 5, 2021 at 4:55 pm

I, I had a dream...

I had a dream where Paul C. and Barbara B. were sharing a tasty beverage on Hartz Avenue.


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