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2021.2
.24 Hall Family Statement RE Recor
Download 24 HALL FAMILY STATEMENT RE RECOR • 84KB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2021

Hall Family Media Contact:hallfamily@justiceformileshall.org

Statement Scott and Taun Hall, parents of Miles Hall, Regarding Records Release


Walnut Creek CA--- “The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office inspector reports documenting officers' accounts of the shooting confirmed what we already knew: that the officers who shot and killed our son, Miles Hall, acted recklessly and should be criminally charged. What is additionally distressing are the officers' fantastical, distorted accounts of the incident that took Miles' life.

We are grateful that the events before, during, and after the shooting were documented via the officers' body cameras and other video footage as well as by eyewitnesses. Otherwise, the community and our family might never have had such clear evidence of the truth: that Miles posed no threat to officers as he attempted to run past them toward the safety of his home, and that the officers fired lethal weapons recklessly and with wanton disregard for his life.

We feel strongly that Miles' dual status as a young man in the throes of a mental health crisis and as a Black man made him particularly vulnerable to police violence on June 2, 2019. Miles needed care and compassion that day, but instead, he was met with lethal force.

Officers flouted their responsibility to de-escalate at the scene and turned to gunfire instead of following Walnut Creek Police Department protocols for interactions with people in a mental health crisis. Further, these officers did not follow their plan and the assignments given by the lead officer.

It has been nearly 21 months since Miles was killed. We are concerned both with the excruciatingly slow pace of the investigation and with the integrity of the original lead investigator who managed the case and oversaw the collection of inspector reports: Barry Grove.

We are aware that Mr. Grove has made racially charged statements on social media, which has undermined our faith in his ability to carry out his duties equitably and appropriately. We also understand that Mr. Grove is no longer assigned to the investigation of the police shooting of our son.

We look to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office to ensure that a thorough, unbiased, factually accurate investigation has ensued since, and we anxiously await completion of the review.

We request that the investigation into Miles' death conclude no later than March 31, 2021. It is our fervent hope that justice will soon be served, so that in due time we may be able to focus more fully on healing and continuing to honor the life of our beloved son.”

For more information, including video of what happened on June 2, 2019, please go to www.justiceformileshall.org





I am speaking on behalf of Friends of Scott, Alexis, and Taun Hall (FOSATH), a group of citizens who came together to ask the city to make changes after Miles Hall was killed by Walnut Creek police while in the midst of a mental health crisis.


In October of 2019, FOSATH conducted a large community forum, to share our grief over Miles’s death and to hear what our community wanted to do to address this tragedy.


During this session we heard about unequal treatment based on race in our community, and the profound ways in which Miles’s death impacted so many of our neighbors.


While the idea of community listening sessions to address the harm and subsequent damage to trust resulting from Miles's killing had been presented to the City by FOSATH before that October, the interest in pursuing these sessions in collaboration with the City was only strengthened by what we heard and experienced during our community forum.


We continued to push City leadership to create Listening Sessions, feeling that a city-wide effort would be beneficial for City leaders to listen to citizens and neighbors talk freely, outside of the strict limits of public comment periods, about their experiences with racism and law enforcement responses to mental health crises in Walnut Creek. To deeply listen and not defend, and from that listening, make substantive changes that start to make Walnut Creek a safer place and create a culture of belonging, accountability, equity, and healing.


FOSATH is proud to have initiated this effort and to have worked in often difficult collaboration with the City laying groundwork for rebuilding trust in our community, particularly for those most affected by mental illness and racism.


We are grateful that the City dedicated time and resources to conduct these Listening Sessions. The Jason Seals & Associates report is for the most part comprehensive and contains recommendations which could be profoundly helpful if made actionable. We are pleased that the Listening Sessions lifted up voices that are not often heard. We particularly note that the Listening Sessions reinforced the need for 24/7 mental health crisis support. We appreciate the City Council’s leadership in continuing to advocate for the crucial services that will help ensure that what happened to Miles never happens to another person in Walnut Creek.


In addition to the call for more robust mental health crisis support, we wish to highlight the following key themes and insights from the consultants’ report:

  • The need for an increased willingness by City leadership to address the needs of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color.

  • A more explicit recognition of systemic issues that lead to racial bias and a lack of real racial equity and justice.

We also wish to draw attention to the following analysis and recommendations from the consultants’ report:

  • Following recent events, there is a growing distrust among some community members, City leadership, and law enforcement. Viewing these community members as a ‘vocal minority’ and discounting their voices perpetuates the marginalization of these community members and also neglects the impact this distrust has had on the collective tone of Walnut Creek.

  • Keys to rebuilding trust are transparency, ownership, and community building.

  • It is critical that City and WCPD leadership take a position that acknowledges the existence of systemic racism in our city and society and how it appears in the form of implicit/explicit bias, the disproportionate treatment of minoritized racial/ethnic groups, and the social inequities correlated with rates of crime, arrests, and imprisonment.

We anticipate the City will commit to taking deliberate action on the recommendations of the Jason Seals and Associates Report. We hope that your process of creating and prioritizing those actions will follow the report’s strong recommendation to include voices from across our community to co-create and implement real change. According to the report, it is critical to success to include the incoming Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, the Chief Community Advisory Board, FOSATH, members of WCPD, and others.


FOSATH and the City agree that Miles’s death was a tragedy. But we still disagree on responsibility and accountability for his tragic killing. We feel that we have divergent narratives regarding Miles’s death, specifically around police accountability, the timing of officers being returned to active duty, and the need to improve police use-of-force policies and training.


The Listening Sessions, and subsequent actions taken by City leadership as a result of this report, could provide a chance to recalibrate our relationship and for the City to rebuild trust with the community. We are encouraged to see the potential for movement.


We welcome you to join in a meaningful partnership with the Miles Hall Foundation to create positive initiatives that the City can support, champion, and help lead as you do with other non-profit organizations working for the good of the community.


We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Hall family for their loving persistence in protecting families from the painful loss of future Miles Halls. Thank you Taun, Scott and Alexis Hall for turning pain into purpose.


In closing, we pause to honor the life of Miles Hall by saying his name. MILES HALL!



Updated: Oct 15, 2020

October 14, 2020 Hello Mayor Haskew and City Council Members, Mr. Buckshi, Ms. Burkhart, and Acting Chief Hill,


We are writing to express our concern regarding two items: first, the lack of response to our email of October 5 about the City’s response to the settlement with the Hall family https://www.justiceformileshall.org/post/fosath-response-letter-to-walnut-creek-city-government and second, the October 12 posting to the Walnut Creek Police Department Facebook page.


We are sure that by now all of you have read the Facebook posting and responses. In fact, some of you responded yourselves.  Not only does the posting promote divisiveness, but the message itself and reactions to it prompt numerous questions, including:


What is the culture within the Police Department that makes a member of that department comfortable posting a message and replies to it that disparage people who question or criticize law enforcement (1), given that the department’s stated values include treating “everyone with impartiality, courtesy and dignity while maintaining our loyalty to the community, our department and our profession”(2)?


Why as a matter of principle is it acceptable for City employees or elected officials to post their personal reactions to content on a City department’s social media channel? Responses by city employees to members of the public include:

  • “Sorry if community support offends you. You can unfollow our page anytime.”

  • “We’re good, but thanks.” (in reply to a question about serving the whole community rather than deliberately creating division through the original post)  

What lack of training, understanding and/or sense of accountability leads to a posting that is out of compliance with the City’s social media policy (3) and police policy manual (4) which include the following passages:

  • “This policy applies to City of Walnut Creek elected and appointed officials, employees, volunteers, contractors and any other representatives acting on behalf of the City or any of its Departments and Divisions.” (3)

  • “Any employee authorized to post items on any of the City’s social media sites shall not express his or her own personal views or concerns through such postings. Postings on any of the City’s social media sites by an authorized City employee shall only reflect the views and concerns of the City.” (3)

  • “The City will utilize social media to engage, build relationships with, and provide useful information to the City’s residents, partners, and stakeholders.” (3)

  • “Causes for Discipline: Discourteous, disrespectful or discriminatory treatment of any member of the public or any member of this department or the City.” (4)

We are aware that the WCPD has posted an update taking responsibility for the misstep. While we appreciate this public acknowledgement, we are concerned about the continuing pattern of public communication from both the City and its Police Department. The pattern seems indicative of an organization with cultural issues not only around how it views its citizens who live with mental health conditions, but also how it views the public’s right to ask for change.


As you know, Friends of Scott, Alexis and Taun Hall (FOSATH) is committed to collaborating with the City to promote the healing required in the aftermath of the June 2, 2019 killing of Miles Hall. We are frustrated by City communications that continue to inflame and divide. 


We request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss next steps. We are looking forward to your response.


Respectfully,

FOSATH - Friends of Scott, Alexis, and Taun Hall

________________________________________________________


References

  1. WCPD Facebook screenshots:





2. City of Walnut Creek Police Department Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/walnutcreekpd

3. City of Walnut Creek, Social Media Policy #202, issued 1/3/2012: https://www.walnut-creek.org/home/showdocument?id=2412

4. City of Walnut Creek, Police Policy Manual, Standard of Conduct Policy 324.5.9

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© 2021 by Justice for Miles Hall, Walnut Creek