STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The Monroe County NAACP has issued a statement regarding the shooting of Christian Hall.
In the statement, the NAACP pledges its support to Hall’s family and urges state lawmakers to invest more in mental health crisis specialists, which they say would have helped prevent Christian’s death.
The shooting, which occurred in January, happened on an overpass on Interstate 80 in Hamilton Township, Monroe County. Police say that Hall was in posession of a firearm which he then pointed at police, where they then opened fire.
Eyewitness News spoke with the family of Christian in February, where they said they wanted the State Attorney General’s office to look into the case and investigate the facts.
The letter, in its entirety, can be viewed below.
“On December 30, 2020, Christian J. Hall, a nineteen-year-old young man from Stroudsburg, PA lost his promising life after being shot seven times by Pennsylvania State Police while experiencing a mental health crisis. Our community was also confronted with a video on social media that show Christian’s hands raised during his final moments. We believe his death was avoidable and pledge to work with his family, loved ones and other organizations joined in solidarity to change the way unarmed citizens-including those with mental health crises-are engaged by law enforcement. There are available solutions that do not involve the loss of life and we are asking everyone to work together in search of those solutions. We must always employ empathy when dealing with the citizens of our Commonwealth and we are calling for mandated policies and procedures when engaging them. Most importantly, law enforcement engaging with citizens calls for the same respect and dignity that would be afforded to members of their own family.
We call on Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Legislature to provide funding to employ mental health crisis specialists within all regional law enforcement agencies, and we are calling for specialized and consistent training related to de-escalation techniques when encountering unarmed citizens, including those dealing with mental illnesses. We are also asking that law enforcement policies concerning citizen engagement be reviewed and revised to mandate non-lethal methods be utilized unless deadly force is the only resort if not already the standard. When we spoke with Christian’s parents in January, we assured them we would work with others to ensure his death would not be in vain.
We stand with Gareth and Fe Hall in calling for Monroe County District Attorney David Christine to move the case to the State Attorney General’s Office for an independent investigation of the facts. We also want to see a policy change for future cases involving law enforcement that would trigger an automatic transfer to the AG’s office for an independent review of cases involving deaths of any unarmed citizens. Since January, we have been working with the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance and Lehigh Valley Stands Up to raise awareness both regionally and statewide for Christian, and will continue to demand justice and accountability for all those who rightfully seek it.Christa Caceres
Monroe County NAACP”