News

Judge orders Danville police officer to stand trial for manslaughter in on-duty shooting

Firearm charge dismissed for lack of proof during preliminary hearing

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall, center, heads into his preliminary hearing at the A. F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez on July 20 for the death of Laudemer Arboleda. (Photo by Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall will stand trial on voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda, but a judge threw out the charge of assault with a semi-automatic weapon, saying at a preliminary hearing Tuesday the prosecutor didn't adequately prove the gun used was technically semi-automatic.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said there was not enough evidence showing Hall's claim of self-defense in firing 10 bullets at Arboleda was legitimate to warrant dismissing the manslaughter charge before trial. Hall's defense team argued Arboleda was driving his car at Hall, and the shooting may have saved the officer's life.

Laudemer Arboleda’s mother, Jeannie Atienza, enters the at the A. F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez on July 20 for Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall’s preliminary hearing. Hall was ordered to stand trial for killing Arboleda. (Photo by Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Mockler said there wasn't enough evidence that Arboleda was committing a violent felony, nor had a violent history.

"The car itself was not aimed at Deputy Hall," Mockler said.

Hall, who was working as a Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputy assigned to the Danville Police Department at the time under the town's contract for police services, will be formally arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Aug. 9.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support PleasantonWeekly.com for as little as $5/month.

Join

Hall, who previously pleaded not guilty last month, is currently out of custody and on paid administrative leave from the sheriff's office.

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday in Martinez, assistant district attorney Chris Walpole showed the court video footage from multiple police cameras during the Nov. 3, 2018, chase. Police responded to reports of a suspicious man knocking on doors.

Arboleda, 33, stopped, then drove away from police at least three times on the footage -- twice with at least one officer drawing his gun without firing. One of the officers was heard clearly saying not to shoot, before Arboleda drove away again. At one point, an officer was heard saying if the chase got near downtown, he would call it off.

The incident ended at the intersection of Diablo Road and Front Street, with two police units behind Arboleda's gray Honda Civic, and two in front, including Hall's. There was enough space to drive between the police cars, which Arboleda tried doing when Hall opened fire from the front driver's side of Arboleda's car, hitting the Newark man nine times.

Mockler said the footage showed Arboleda started maneuvering between the police cars while Hall was still behind his own car.

The videotape, shown in open court in front of members of Arboleda's family, appeared to show Hall not taking cover before shooting, but stepping back as the car got closer. An officer in the car on the other side of Arboleda was still in his vehicle.

After Arboleda was shot, his car proceeded through the intersection and struck at least one other westbound car before stopping against the Diablo Road curb. Officers broke the driver's side window to get to Arboleda, who was slumped against the seat.

Hall's lawyer Harry Stern said other officers at the scene told investigators they feared for Hall's safety as Arboleda drove away. Stern said the fact that the car didn't hit Hall may have proved the shooting was a necessary, split-second decision

"Deputy Hall absolutely had the right to defend himself," Stern said, adding that officers made it clear throughout it was a serious situation and Arbodela needed to stop.

Walpole said it wasn't "a high-speed pursuit by any stretch of the imagination," but "a slow pursuit based on ringing some doorbells." He also played dispatch audio, which went long stretches without any talking, which he said indicated police did not consider the chase very dangerous.

Walpole said Hall "charged into the situation" and could've shot the officer on the other side of Arboleda's car.

"(Arboleda) didn't need to die," Walpole said. "This shouldn't have happened."

A sheriff's office investigation after the 2018 incident cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced it was pressing charges in the 2018 case after Hall was involved in a second shooting earlier this year.

On March 11, Hall responded to reports of a man throwing rocks onto Interstate 680 from the Sycamore Valley Road overpass. The sheriff's office said 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson approached Hall near the overpass with a folding knife, arguing Hall shot Wilson in self-defense. The shooting is still being investigated.

The families of the deceased in both incidents said the men suffered from mental health issues.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Your support is vital to us continuing to bring you crime news. Become a member today.

Judge orders Danville police officer to stand trial for manslaughter in on-duty shooting

Firearm charge dismissed for lack of proof during preliminary hearing

by /

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 4:49 pm
Updated: Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 8:45 am

Danville Police Officer Andrew Hall will stand trial on voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda, but a judge threw out the charge of assault with a semi-automatic weapon, saying at a preliminary hearing Tuesday the prosecutor didn't adequately prove the gun used was technically semi-automatic.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler said there was not enough evidence showing Hall's claim of self-defense in firing 10 bullets at Arboleda was legitimate to warrant dismissing the manslaughter charge before trial. Hall's defense team argued Arboleda was driving his car at Hall, and the shooting may have saved the officer's life.

Mockler said there wasn't enough evidence that Arboleda was committing a violent felony, nor had a violent history.

"The car itself was not aimed at Deputy Hall," Mockler said.

Hall, who was working as a Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputy assigned to the Danville Police Department at the time under the town's contract for police services, will be formally arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Aug. 9.

Hall, who previously pleaded not guilty last month, is currently out of custody and on paid administrative leave from the sheriff's office.

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday in Martinez, assistant district attorney Chris Walpole showed the court video footage from multiple police cameras during the Nov. 3, 2018, chase. Police responded to reports of a suspicious man knocking on doors.

Arboleda, 33, stopped, then drove away from police at least three times on the footage -- twice with at least one officer drawing his gun without firing. One of the officers was heard clearly saying not to shoot, before Arboleda drove away again. At one point, an officer was heard saying if the chase got near downtown, he would call it off.

The incident ended at the intersection of Diablo Road and Front Street, with two police units behind Arboleda's gray Honda Civic, and two in front, including Hall's. There was enough space to drive between the police cars, which Arboleda tried doing when Hall opened fire from the front driver's side of Arboleda's car, hitting the Newark man nine times.

Mockler said the footage showed Arboleda started maneuvering between the police cars while Hall was still behind his own car.

The videotape, shown in open court in front of members of Arboleda's family, appeared to show Hall not taking cover before shooting, but stepping back as the car got closer. An officer in the car on the other side of Arboleda was still in his vehicle.

After Arboleda was shot, his car proceeded through the intersection and struck at least one other westbound car before stopping against the Diablo Road curb. Officers broke the driver's side window to get to Arboleda, who was slumped against the seat.

Hall's lawyer Harry Stern said other officers at the scene told investigators they feared for Hall's safety as Arboleda drove away. Stern said the fact that the car didn't hit Hall may have proved the shooting was a necessary, split-second decision

"Deputy Hall absolutely had the right to defend himself," Stern said, adding that officers made it clear throughout it was a serious situation and Arbodela needed to stop.

Walpole said it wasn't "a high-speed pursuit by any stretch of the imagination," but "a slow pursuit based on ringing some doorbells." He also played dispatch audio, which went long stretches without any talking, which he said indicated police did not consider the chase very dangerous.

Walpole said Hall "charged into the situation" and could've shot the officer on the other side of Arboleda's car.

"(Arboleda) didn't need to die," Walpole said. "This shouldn't have happened."

A sheriff's office investigation after the 2018 incident cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced it was pressing charges in the 2018 case after Hall was involved in a second shooting earlier this year.

On March 11, Hall responded to reports of a man throwing rocks onto Interstate 680 from the Sycamore Valley Road overpass. The sheriff's office said 32-year-old Tyrell Wilson approached Hall near the overpass with a folding knife, arguing Hall shot Wilson in self-defense. The shooting is still being investigated.

The families of the deceased in both incidents said the men suffered from mental health issues.

Comments

Carl
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Jul 21, 2021 at 9:32 am
Carl, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 9:32 am

Who would want to be a police officer today?? Pretty soon they’ll be hiring ex cons to police the streets since no law abiding citizen in their right mind will want the job. To political!


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:34 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:34 am

When an officer is facing a person in crisis, the answer is not to shoot, but to de-escalate and to call in experts.


Mike Davis
Registered user
Carriage Gardens
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:13 pm
Mike Davis, Carriage Gardens
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:13 pm

What experts? Go through the phone book and call every expert you can think of. The first thing you'll hear is "if you have an emergency, please hang up and call 911.". The second thing you'll hear is their office hours. The "experts" don't go into the field and certainly not after hours, on weekends, or on holidays.

I'm sure the "experts" would be glad to help if its not an emergency, you bring yourself to them, and its during business hours though.

The whole concept of waiting for the experts, especially during real crisis (i.e. armed, violent, dangerous, etc.), is a complete fantasy.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:24 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:24 pm

It isn’t if they are part of the department or a regional crisis team.


Mike Davis
Registered user
Carriage Gardens
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:37 pm
Mike Davis, Carriage Gardens
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Take a quick walk around Oakland or San Francisco and report back on how well those crisis teams are doing with the homeless population in crisis. They're either incapable or lack the tools to manage the most mundane of mental health crisis and you want to bring them in to handle extreme crisis? I'm not interested in seeing the public safety disaster that would predictably result in.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 21, 2021 at 4:03 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 4:03 pm

So, it isn’t working well in a large community like Oakland or San Francisco, so let’s not even give it a chance in smaller communities?


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 21, 2021 at 4:20 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 4:20 pm

I could understand calling in experts in a static situation, but if you have someone actively evading police and driving recklessly, I don't think there's time for that "lets stop and talk this out" situation.

So do I think this officer deserves to be charged with manslaughter for this (based on the article) - absolutely not. Should he be removed or relegated to a different police function, possibly due to his decision making vs the other officers in the situation. If he broke protocol by engaging vs letting the person get a way then he deserves a fitting punishment (assuming that's the case).




Just the facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2021 at 5:18 pm
Just the facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Kathleen,
Everything you perceive to be mental health-related, you weigh in on. Was Arboleda wearing a sign around his neck saying, "I have mental health issues!", NO! You are so quick to judge and obviously expect officers to put themselves at further risk because someone might have mental health issues. Yes, they might but they might also be high on drugs and out of their mind. Individuals under the influence can be extremely dangerous!

Carl is correct; soon no respectable individual will want to uphold the law or protect those they are sworn to protect because they might be prosecuted for defending themselves when they fear for their life. If you have never had the opportunity to go through a police simulator, I would suggest you do so. It is an eye-opening experience. The job is not easy!


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:26 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 10:26 pm

I am trying to speak to those in mental crisis, but “The car itself was not aimed at Deputy Hall," Mockler said. It appears Arboleda should not have died.


Joe V
Registered user
Birdland
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:27 am
Joe V, Birdland
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:27 am

Let's not come to a conclusion on this case with our prejudices, whatever they may be, before hearing all the evidence, as the jury will.


Joe V
Registered user
Birdland
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:29 am
Joe V, Birdland
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 10:29 am

Let's not come to a conclusion on this case based on our prejudices, whatever they may be.
The jury will hopefully receive all the evidence.


Carl
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Jul 22, 2021 at 11:27 am
Carl, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 11:27 am

It is easy for those that want to criticize police officer conduct to do so while sitting in front of their computer with a cup of coffee. They obviously have never had to make a split second decision under stressful circumstances. I have encouraged Kathleen to do a ride along with Pleasanton PD to get a better feel for what they face day in and day out but obviously she would rather not. Better yet, if you really want to expand your horizons take a ride along with Oakland PD.

FYI - The car does not have to be aimed at the officer! He has a duty to protect life, which includes other officers and civilians that he feels are endangered by the acts of others. The evidence will show what it shows.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jul 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jul 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm

I believe there are other ways to have handled this incident, but I am perfectly willing to wait for the evidence and the jury’s decision.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.