The family of a Northeast D.C. man who was shot and killed by Metropolitan police on Christmas morning want authorities to publicly release the body- camera footage detailing the incident.
Gerald Javon Hall was fatally shot by police on Dec. 25 after stabbing a 33-year-old woman during a domestic altercation, but the loved ones of Hall, 29, are questioning the protocols of the responding officers. Hall’s family members said he was unarmed when police shot him down, but authorities said Hall was wielding a knife.
“I want to know more I want this police footage to be released. They are saying a guy I’ve known my whole life was wielding a knife and threatening a police officer,” Donnell Jones, the cousin of Hall told the AFRO Jan. 3. He said the police’s description of Hall acting violently was out of character and that police could have used other means to deescalate the situation. “We should be able to call the police if we feel scared…I just think they showed up and did everything wrong.”
Jones, 31, like many of Hall’s loved ones, described him as a family man who worked hard to provide for his four children and joked around a lot. Jones said Hall, a Navy veteran, inspired him to enlist in the Army. Jones added he doesn’t know the complete story, because he wasn’t on the scene but other members of the family have watched the body camera footage and are disputing police claims.
According to police reports, authorities arrived at the 3200 block of Walnut Street, NE around 11:30 a.m. after a neighbor called for sounds of “loud screaming.” Officials said Hall got into a verbal altercation with the woman his family identified as his girlfriend that turned physical.
According to police, Hall allegedly grabbed a knife. But, the girlfriend’s sister was able to take the knife away from Hall.
Then, Hall allegedly pulled out another knife and stabbed his girlfriend in the arm. Police said they arrived on the scene after being called by a neighbor and commanded Hall to drop the knife. Officials said Hall refused to put the weapon down, which prompted the officer to shoot.
Hall was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
“The officer involved in the Dec. 25 shooting remains on routine administrative leave, per department policy. There are no updates to release at this time,” Rachel Reid, a spokesperson for the police department told the AFRO on Dec. 30.
Along with Hall’s incident, there have been 10 officer-involved shootings in D.C. with five of them resulting in fatalities, according to information sent from the MPD to the AFRO in November of 2016.
Since the incident Black Lives Matter activists have hosted protests at the Jan. 1 Freshstart 5K walk and Jan.2 swearing in ceremony for 2017 council members in Hall’s honor. The group is assisting the family in petitioning Mayor Muriel Bowser for the public release of body-camera footage, according to family members.
Riquita McCain, Hall’s younger sister, told the AFRO on Jan.3 that she and her mother are having a tough time dealing with the loss of Hall. McCain, 25, said the next step for them is to vocalize the killing in hopes of receiving justice, but she said authorities aren’t being helpful.
“They not working with us at all,” she said in reference to the District police and the mayor’s office. McCain watched the body-camera footage and said her brother was not holding a knife when a responding officer shot him three times in the chest. She said that police already had the knife in their possession when the shots were fired.
“It ain’t no way you can edit this tape, tamper with it to make it look justly,” she said.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up to raise money for Hall’s funeral expenses. D.C. Courts Crime Victims Compensation Program will not assist the family with expenses because Hall is currently a suspect, McCain said.
A vigil was held for Hall, in the neighborhood where he was slain, on his birthday — Dec. 30. He would have turned 30.
Hall’s first cousin, Q James, 33, attended the vigil and told the AFRO on Jan.3 that about 100 people participated. She said Hall’s girlfriend, who was involved in the domestic situation, also wants the mayor to release the body cam footage.
“He always walked around smiling. It’s so rare that you would see him mad,” James said.
Hall graduated from Parkville High School in Baltimore County and was working as an electrician for Local 26 in Lanham, Md. He was a divorcee and had primary custody of his four children.