Dozens of frustrated protesters marched into Miami Gardens City Hall Wednesday night to voice their anger over a fatal police shooting 10 days ago of a mentally ill man in the city.
The group, led by the Dream Defenders of South Florida, asked the City Council to release the audio and dash-cam video from the shooting of 25-year-old Lavall Hall earlier this month. Miami Gardens Police Chief Stephen Johnson said two officers — Peter Ehrlich and Eddo Trimino — had fired their Tasers at Hall after he hit them with the metal end of a broomstick. Johnson said the Tasers had no effect and Hall charged at the officers.
As Hall came close, Trimino fired his gun five times, striking Hall twice, with one bullet going to his chest.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said the city wants to release the tape, but the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office told city officials it wasn't possible.
The protesters also asked for training for police officers and for an investigation by an independent agency.
The group wore blue shirts with a crown on the front and the name “Lala” on the back after Hall’s nickname. They expressed frustration with the city over how the process was handled.
“I just want to know why did they take my child’s life?” Hall’s mother, Catherine Daniels, said at the meeting.
Elaine Ingraham, Hall’s aunt and a Miami Gardens resident, called the shooting incident “disgusting” and said “something needs to be done and it needs to be done, because the same way we voted you in we’ll vote you out.”
Gilbert called the shooting “sad” and “tragic” and said the City Council and staff are committed to preventing situations like Hall’s death and other crime in the city.
“I care about everyone who gets killed in Miami Gardens and that’s without regard to who killed who,” Gilbert said. “My waking moments are spent trying to stop that.”
He said the police department will continue its investigation but ultimately the final decision will be made by the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.
“I believe, whether it be a homicide or a corner store, the law should follow the facts,” Gilbert said. “If the facts indicate you break the law, you should be prosecuted.”