By Alex Harris
February 8, 2016
It’s been 350 days since Lavall Hall was killed by police, but his family has not stopped its call for action.
The 25-year-old man was having what his mother refers to as “an episode” — possibly brought on by his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — when she called Miami Gardens officers for help.
A week earlier, when Catherine Daniels called police to help her son, they escorted him to a mental health facility. This time, he was wielding a metal-tipped broomstick. He was shot and killed.
“If I’d have known that would have happened like that, I wouldn’t have called them,” she said. “I called them for help, and look what it caused — my child’s death.”
A confrontation in which Hall left an officer “bleeding profusely” from the head, had a 10- to 15-second fistfight with another and was unsuccessfully shocked with a Taser, ended with Officer Eddo Trimino firing at Hall several times.
Last week, state prosecutors decided not to charge Trimino. The report said he “fired his service pistol in order to protect his life and that of others.”
On Monday, Daniels and her family gathered in a conference room at their lawyers’ firm in Brickell.
Her lawyers, Glenn Goldberg and Brett Rosen, expressed their frustrations about the state attorney’s decision not to charge Trimino.
“We believe this to be a travesty of justice,” Goldberg told reporters.
They declined to comment on the ongoing civil litigation between the family and Miami Gardens police.
The group took their concerns to the Department of Justice and the FBI, asking the agencies to conduct independent investigations into the case.
The ultimate goal is to change the way police officers are trained to handle people with mental illness.
“You know someone’s having an episode. Be patient,” Rosen said. “It’s life or death, and you want to rush the process? Take a step back.”
Eric Pettus, a Miami-Dade representative for the NAACP, said the model the FBI uses for dealing with people with mental illness is the standard he’d like to see police officers follow.
That would involve “bringing someone to that scene to engage with them in a more therapeutic way, rather than creating an incident that leads to that person getting killed,” he said.
Jasmen Rogers, a representative from activist group The Dream Defenders, said her group will continue to rally.
“We’re tired of seeing black and brown women dead in the streets,” she said. “We’re gonna keep marching, we’re gonna keep standing with this family and with all other families that are victims of police violence down here.”
Hall’s mother was overcome with emotion on Monday.
“I just want people to feel my pain. My pain and my suffering,” Daniels said. “It’s been a whole year, and the way he got off — it’s not right.”