Graphic surveillance footage from this past November shows Fontana police officers fatally shooting a mentally ill and legally blind man, James Hall, who was reportedly armed with a knife and a rock.
In the video (which was released by attorneys representing Hall’s family Wednesday and first reported on by the Daily Mail) Hall, 47, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, enters a Chevron store in Fontana around 4:15a.m. on November 22, 2015.
The incident reportedly began when the convenience store clerk called the police about a possible armed robbery in progress.
The video shows five officers and a police dog entering the store after Hall. The police dog lunges at Hall, who appears startled and retreats toward the back of the store as police begin to close in on him. According to the Hall family’s lawsuit, an officer also fired a shot in Hall’s direction during the incident, prior to the final, fatal shooting.
According to the original Fontana PD report from November 2015, officers were trying to “talk the suspect into surrendering” before Hall “advanced on officers,” causing an officer to open fire.
In the video, however, Hall appears to crouch down in the back corner of the store, shifting here and there, until officers move in closer. Hall then seems to takes a couple of quick steps toward what looks like a soda fountain counter on his right, at which point, one of the officers opens fire. Hall does not appear to “advance” on officers before being shot.
Once Hall drops to the ground, around 12 officers quickly surround his body with guns drawn. Hall was declared dead at the scene.
Hall’s family is suing the Fontana PD for excessive use of force. The family is represented by high-profile attorney Mark Geragos’ law firm.
Hall was known by his family and neighbors as a peaceful man whose schizoaffective disorder did not lead to violent behavior.