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Mother Of Man Killed By Danville Police Sues The Town, County, Deputy Who Opened Fire On Him

Photo: Chris Koenig

The mother of a 33-year-old Newark man shot and killed by Danville police at the end of a police pursuit in November of last year is suing the town, county and the deputy who opened fire on her son – alleging that Laudemer Arboleda’s civil rights were violated when he died in a hail of police gunfire that day.

The suit, brought by Oakland attorney John Burris and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California of behalf of Jeannie Atienza, Arboleda’s mother, names Deputy Andrew Hall as a defendant. It was Hall, the suit alleges, who opened fire on the Newark man after police said Arboleda allegedly steered his car toward the deputy at the intersection of Front Street and Diablo Road on Nov. 3.

Atienza’s lawyer contends the Newark man posed no threat to officers and was merely attempting to drive slowly away when he was was hit and killed by police gunfire.

Laudemer Arboleda

Events leading up to the shooting vary widely. Danville police have said they were called out to check on reports from neighbors of a young man approaching local homes with bags of unknown contents and pursued Arboleda’s car when he drove away as they attempted to contact him. Atienza’s lawyer, on the other hand, contends that police followed Arboleda for no reason and fired on him as he attempted to slowly drive away.

“The defendant officers’ actions were excessive and unreasonable,” the complaint contends. “… especially because decedent was unarmed and not suspected of any crime at the time he was (pursued) and gunned down. Decedent was forced to endure conscious pain and suffering from the deadly wound caused by defendant officer’s conduct.”

Town officials and the county sheriff’s office, which provides contracted police services to Danville and other local towns, declined to comment on the suit, saying they had yet to see it.

The complaint further contests the police version of events, saying: “When officers arrived, they saw Mr. Arboleda inside of his car, not committing any crime or infraction. For unknown reasons, officers pursued Mr. Arboleda as he drove away, even though he was not suspected of committing any crime or infraction.”

“In fear for his life, Mr. Arboleda continued to drive away from the officers,” the complaint reads. “As Mr. Arboleda slowly drove through the intersection, Danville police officer Andrew Hall inexplicably opened fire on Mr. Arboleda, by shooting into the moving car, in the middle of a heavily populated intersection, on a Saturday afternoon.”

Arboleda’s car veered “out of control” and struck other cars in the intersection that day. At least one witness has said they were within feet of the shooting and witnessed the incident. To date, there has been no mention of bags of “white powder” reportedly jettisoned from Arboleda’s car during the chase/escape.

Arboleda’s mother requested a jury trial in her son’s civil rights suit. Damages remain unspecified.

The shooting was Danville’s first officer-involved shooting since August 2001.


  1. Some answers would be nice one way or the other. This was a terrible thing and happened in broad daylight in a very busy part of town.

  2. Video recordings. You can speculate all you want, but there should be MULTIPLE police videos of the event. He either was driving slowly or he wasn’t at the time of the shooting. The car was moving toward the officer who fired through the windows and killed the driver or it wasn’t or perhaps it is unclear.

    The Sheriff’s position, on the other hand, was clear from the outset. Circle the wagons. Prior to the beginning of any investigation he was quoted on this site as saying: “This is not about race. This is about a dangerous and reckless person trying to run down and murder a police officer. Once all investigations are completed, we look forward to sharing the full details with the public.”

    He didn’t even make it make it through those 2 sentences without speaking prejudicially about the event to be investigated.
    Until we see what actually happened that is just reckless talk, no different from the other side.

    • Agree on your point about videos. With all the attention given disclosure of police conduct in recent months I was surprised when no video of the moments leading up to this tragedy were released. Following this case closely. I wasn’t down there the day it happened but I have friends who were and they were shaken.

  3. Show us the video. Let us see for ourselves. I’m reserving my opinion until I see clear evidence of what happened the day of the shooting.

  4. “He fled from us and then steered his car in our direction” “He was fleeing for his life.” “He did nothing and police had no cause to stop him.” “He approached some local homes while carrying bags of something and appeared lost.” -=– It will be interesting to see where this ends. I think we could all use some truthiness on this.

  5. As the investigation began, the sheriff asked the public to be patient and wait for the final results, but by the way he adds, this was attempted MURDER. Meaning intent to kill. So, according to the sheriff’s conclusion, the driver wasn’t attempting to simply flee the scene as he had done previously. Now if you are writing your witness statement and you work for the sheriff and you witnessed ANYTHING that contradicted that conclusion from your boss in any way, are you going to mention that in your statement? Luckily for the officer who shot the driver the chief knows the driver’s intent, and it was to kill. Therefore, we know from the outset that the officer did nothing wrong. Who’s going to dispute that? Certainly not the driver. Certainly not the sheriff’s deputies. Fortunately, there is video evidence, somewhere, to help clear this up. Who will see it? A jury will see it.

  6. What does it mean, a “suspicious” person near Cottage Ln and Laurel Dr? If he didn’t knock on any doors or peer into any windows, what is the legal basis for even attempting a traffic stop? There is no alleged misbehavior prior to the pursuit. How did police match the description of a “suspicious” person carrying bags to the guy in the car driving away? There is no alleged crime. No alleged driving infraction was listed in the news reports until AFTER he is pursued by police. There appears to be no basis for probable cause to search the vehicle. On what basis did they attempt to make the traffic stop? Upon realizing he wasn’t going to stop, but he wasn’t driving recklessly, why didn’t they just follow this guy to wherever he was going and ask to talk with him when he got there? That would have been the opposite of escalation. It appears they didn’t know how to resolve this peacefully, and that is sad. Instead they enlisted multiple squad cars in pursuit of someone who was simply a scared young man, and with lots of police assembled, they cornered and confronted him with guns drawn to effect an arrest for…carrying bags near Cottage Ln and Laurel Dr in Danville while looking like he didn’t belong there.

  7. Comply with the police and you won’t get shot. It really is that simple. As far as the “race card” which Burris can’t wait to play. This man is Asian. Whites and Asians are the norm in affluent suburbs. We’d all get shot if we don’t comply with the police. The police have their protocol, and they use force. If you don’t like it, see to it that you never put yourself in a position where you have to interact with the police. It’s commonly referred to as being a law abiding citizen.

    • “The Edmund Pettus Bridge carries U.S. Route 80 Business across the Alabama River in Selma, Alabama. Built in 1940, it is named after Edmund Winston Pettus, a former Confederate brigadier general, Democratic U.S. Senator, and grand wizard of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. Wikipedia”

      Glory be to the men in blue or were they still wearing confederate grey in the sixties?

    • Your argument has no merit except to preserve the status quo without regard to what is right.

      SUBMIT!! Slavery is the law of the land, submit! It is laughable to suggest that n……should be allowed to VOTE, be sensible, submit! Jim Crow is the law of the land, submit! A military draft is the law of the land. Go to Indochina and kill for us; we have interests there, submit! It is laughable to suggest that women should VOTE, be sensible, submit! It is ridiculous to suggest that treaties on torture apply to us, the good guys, submit!! The US government has judged you, Japanese Americans, citizens, to be a threat to national security, submit! Stonewall! How dare you, submit! Oscar Grant, seriously? Submit!

  8. I trust the editor will understand the relevance of my 2 prior comments. They conform to your standards as best I can determine. I think it is important to recognize the right of people to peacefully assemble and protest or to simply be an ethnic minority without being beaten or falsely arrested or killed by police.

  9. I am guessing those police body-camera and vehicle-camera video recordings are on a VERY secure server because they have not been released as exculpatory. Has the plaintiff’s team seen them yet? The police chief stated at the outset of this “investigation” that the actions of the plaintiff were the attempted “murder” of Officer Hall. Gee, I wonder if any of his subordinates who witnessed this (he didn’t) have submitted any testimony that even hints at an alternative version of the facts. Correct me if I misjudge, but the official position of the chief was apparently made public before witness statements were made. That would seem to be a clear attempt to prejudice the investigation and influence witness statements. Is that how it works in Danville?

  10. 2 videos forced out today look very very bad for officer Hall who moved from safety very quickly toward the slow moving car and fired about 7 shots through the passenger side half of the front windshield. Also, big surprise, the sheriff made stuff up to clear him despite not being a witness. You can’t wipe that stink of corruption off the sheriff. Hall won’t be criminally charged, and taxpayers will pay for this. I hope News24 will update this story especially after recent statements by AG Barr about respecting police or don’t expect police to be there for you.

  11. Unarmed man shot dead in his vehicle. Mother sues. Why wouldn’t she seek to understand some measure of why and how and who would do this to her son, and then lie about it. Where is the justice in this shooting of this unarmed young man?

  12. Breaking news! Woman not shot after making police chase her car for 2 blocks. California woman not shot for resisting arrest. Woman not shot 7 times at point blank range while being forcibly pulled from her vehicle. Of course, that woman would be Soho Karen. Just try those moves while wearing brown or black skin.

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