Walnut Creek City Council heard a report from city manager Dan Buckshi and staff detailing the city's progress on City and Police Department policy and protocol improvements pursued by grassroots community group Friends of Scott, Alexis and Taun Hall (FOSATH). These requests, made at a June 16 city council meeting, focused on the need for systemic changes surrounding police use of force, mental health crisis response and anti-bias education spurred by the June 2019 police shooting and killing of Walnut Creek–resident Miles Hall.
On June 2, 2019, on Sandra Court and Arlene Lane in Walnut Creek, 23-year-old Hall experienced a schizoaffective episode. Five police officers responded to a 911 call placed by family members including Hall's mother, Taun Hall. The officers repeatedly yelled "stop" at Hall but when he attempted to run past them, two officers fired their guns at him, killing him.
Miles Hall's status as a young Black man suffering from mental illness spurred community members to question the use of lethal force in a city that had seen no officer-involved shootings in seven years. FOSATH has asked the City of Walnut Creek and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office to request and obtain an independent investigation into Hall's shooting.
Also discussed was Walnut Creek's response to Black Lives Matter protests on June 1 after which multiple community-based organizations decried the city's use of tear gas, rubber bullets, military vehicles and guard dogs in a June 12 letter addressed to Mayor Haskew, Police Chief Chaplin, Buckshi, the City Council and others. The city's response was described as "escalatory" and disproportionately aggressive. Signatories to that letter include the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Together We Stand, Together We Will, Contra Costa, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Diablo Valley Democratic Club, Indivisible Central Contra Costa County, Indivisible ReSisters Walnut Creek and Friends of Scott, Alexis and Taun Hall (FOSATH).
FOSATH requested that the officers who shot Miles Hall be placed on administrative leave or on desk duty while the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office reviews the incident that resulted in Miles Hall's death.
In the year since Hall's death, his parents started the Miles Hall Foundation to "support and protect families by educating communities about mental illness and by protecting those suffering with mental illness from excessive use of force by law enforcement."
For more information visit JusticeforMilesHall.org.