The family of a mentally-ill teenage boy is demanding answers after new video emerged of his fatal shooting by Pennsylvania police while he had his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender.
Racial justice attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family, shared a video of the December 30 incident on his Twitter account this week, which quickly went viral on social media.
The family of Christian Hall, 19, had called the Pennsylvania State Police to help their son, who was having a mental health episode, as he was standing on a bridge considering committing suicide.
However, the officers shot and fatally wounded the teen as he appeared to raise his hands in the air. He later died of his wounds in the hospital.
“He was having a crisis. There is a suggestion that he was contemplating suicide. He was crying out for help," Crump said. “Christian Hall needed a helping hand, but yet he got bullets while he had his hands up."
19yo Christian Hall needed HELP. On 12/30, he experienced a mental health crisis and @PAStatePolice were called to assist. Instead of helping Christian, deputies fatally shot him with his hands raised. This is NOT how cops should handle mental health crises! #JusticeForChristian pic.twitter.com/QVDggTq44u— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 3, 2021
A police statement at the time had claimed that Christian was in possession of a firearm. He complied with the officers’ command to drop his weapon, but became agitated and picked it up again and pointed at the officers, causing them to open fire at him, the statement had said.
However, the newly surfaced video contradicts the police version of the events, showing Christian with his hands raised when officers started to shoot him.
“He needed help," Christian’s mother, Fe Hall, said. “He was looking for help, but instead of getting help, he was killed by those who were supposed to help him.”
In the meantime, the officers involved in the fatal shooting are still working while state police and the district attorney's office are investigating the incident.
The death of 46-year-old Floyd at the hands of a white US police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ignited months of nationwide protests against police brutality last year.
Floyd died after Derek Chauvin, the white officer, knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground for nine minutes last May. The video of the brutal scene circuited online, shocking people in the US and other countries.