Calls for Justice After Another Teen Killed by Police
With the eyes of the nation on Minnesota with the twin dramas of the ongoing criminal trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin and the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, a Pennsylvania community also finds itself facing a reckoning over the use of deadly force by police.
Family and supporters of Christian Hall, an Asian-American teen fatally shot during a confrontation with the Pennsylvania State Police on an Interstate 80 overpass in the Poconos last December, say they’re launching two initiatives that they hope will lead to better outcomes in mental health emergencies than the one that ended with Hall’s death.
According to published reports, Hall, 19, was in crisis and had anonymously called 911 to report a potentially suicidal person. And “while he was carrying a realistic-looking pellet gun, dash-cam footage shows his hands raised with the weapon pointed up and away prior to being shot. The deadly use of force was ruled justified by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office,” the local Pocono Record reported.
Despite that official ruling, activists say questions about Hall’s death still need to be answered. They include who gave the order to shoot and why. And why did a State Police statement say Hall “pointed his gun at troopers” when the video evidence disproves that?
Hall’s family have said they’re establishing a foundation in their late loved one’s name aimed at fighting racism, working on adoptee mental health, reforming how mental health issues are handled by police, and reforming juvenile justice, the newspaper reported.
According to the Pocono Record, Hall was “adopted from China as a baby by Fe and Gareth Hall."
At that rally outside Philadelphia City Hall last weekend, Hall’s cousin, Nicole Henriquez, called for release of “the unedited, full video,” of the moments before police shot Hall.
Speakers at the rally also called for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to investigate the incident.
And while some of the officers who responded to that incident on the overpass last December had specialized mental health training, Madden told the Pocono Record that a mental health professional would have been better suited to try calm Hall before the situation tragically escalated.
On that broader question, the public agrees.