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Dallas officers, paramedics remain on active duty after 47-year-old died in their custody

LaDamonyon Hall died May 26 after officers responded a disturbance in Far East Dallas.

By Kelli Smith and Maggie Prosser

LaDamonyon Hall died
LaDamonyon Hall died May 26 while in Dallas police and Dallas Fire-Rescue custody.(Dallas Police Department)

Police and fire officials said Thursday officers and paramedics followed proper procedures when a 47-year-old died in authorities’ care after they handcuffed her, used a spit hood and kneeled on her back. The officers and paramedics remain on active duty.

LaDamonyon Hall died May 26 after officers responded about 12:45 p.m. to calls of a disturbance in the 12000 block of Garland Road in Far East Dallas.Police handcuffed her and told her they were taking her to the hospital after she tried to take off her clothes and yelled unintelligible comments. Herautopsy reportispending.

Police announced Hall’s death Wednesday in a 38-minute video released to the public. Body-camera footage shows police and Dallas Fire-Rescue officials also placed a spit hood over her head as she yelled and fought against them. She becameunresponsive just before arriving at the hospital.

Dallas police Chief Eddie García said in a written statement that the preliminary investigation “shows officers followed policy and procedure,” adding that the investigation is ongoing. Police named Jon Leach, Alan Hovis, Benjamin Lambourne and Brandon Pryor as the officers involved.

Jason Evans, a spokesman with Dallas Fire-Rescue, said the case is being investigated. He said the medics in the video, whom he declined to name, have not been placed on leave. The department declined to comment further.

Hall’s family did not immediately comment. Relatives were shown the footage late last week, police said.

Jim McDade, president of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, said the paramedics appeared to follow department protocol. He said police properly restrained and medics appropriately used the spit hood, adding it’s a tragedy Hall lost her life and it was “a bad situation all around.”

”That’s an example of some of the very difficult, challenging runs we go on on a daily basis — people being agitated and violent,” he said.

Dallas’ police oversight monitor Tonya McClary declined to comment on specifics of the case, citing the early investigation. She said she encouraged Dallas police to release the footage earlier, adding that her office “reminded the department the spirit of the General Order was transparency for the department.”

Police spokeswoman Kristin Lowman said the 13-day delay was so Hall’s family could view the footage. García made the decision to release the video “in the interest of transparency,” she said. It was unclear why police did not announce Hall’s death before releasing the video.

Jesuorobo Enobakhare Jr., chairman of the Community Police Oversight Board, said the video-release process worked as designed.

Details of the video

The footage starts with an officer approaching Hall and asking “What’s going on today?” as she stops and looks at him. “Are you OK?” the officer asks. Hall says “yeah” and nods.

After a short back-and-forth, Hall said she feels OK and an officer asks if she needs an ambulance. She shakes her head but appears to say yes.

A short time later, an officer who walked away returns to Hall, who is lying facedown on the ground as three Fire-Rescue officials stand next to her. One appears to say Hall got mad and pushed the paramedics.

Hall says something unintelligible about being killed. “No, we’re not going to let anyone kill you,” a paramedic says. “We want to check you out. Can we take you to the hospital?”

Hall wails and rolls onto her back. She starts to sit up, and a moment later cries out and slams her bag on the ground. The first officer tells her to calm down.

“They keep pushing me down,” she says. “Do you understand English?”

Hall speaks unintelligibly and references battling with disease. She starts to stand up, then sits down and stands up again. She yells, “They all left me. Everybody in that car. People, Jesus.”

She then walks away while taking off her clothes. An officer grabs her arms as she’s pulling her skirt over her head.

The officer pulls her to the ground and she screams. Officers hold her down as she yells “He said no weapons, you don’t trust me, you goddamn [expletive] liars.”

Another officer kneels on her back. Hall yells about God and not having weapons as the officers handcuff her hands behind her back.

“You hurt me [expletive],” she yells.

“You ready to go to the hospital?” someone asks, and Hall curses. Someone tells her to “be nice” and adds “we’re all Jesus’ children.”

An officer tells others they were trying to arrest Hall and stop her from running off and “getting naked.” Hall can be heard screaming as officials lift her onto a stretcher and place a spit hood over her head, then place her in the ambulance.

Spit hoods

It is unclear why they used a spit hood, a mesh hood meant to keep someone from biting or spitting. McDade, of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, said the tool “doesn’t impede the airway in any way,” adding that it “was used properly.”

Many police departments do not issue spit hoods to patrol officers, but they’re used by corrections officers in prisons and jails, The New York Timesreported in 2020.

The video released by Dallas police shows Hall’s feet and then the spit hood is on when the camera moves. It was unclear if there was additional footage from police body-worn cameras or in the ambulance.

Hall yells “I’m dying, I’m dying, [expletive] it,” and screams more curses and tries to sit up.

“Calm down before we get to the hospital so they don’t have to tie you back up like that,” an officer says.

“Try to breathe, OK?” he says a moment later, and Hall yells.

Hall falls silent about 30 minutes into the footage. The officer says he’s not sure what’s going on and repeats, “Can you talk to me?” as a paramedic stands up to look at Hall.

“I’d rather have screaming than that,” the officer says.

The paramedic asks if Hall is hurting anywhere. Hall doesn’t respond.

“Want to get that off of her?” the officer says, appearing to reference the spit hood. The paramedic rubs Hall’s chest, then pumps it as the ambulance stops at Baylor University Medical Center.

A paramedic asks the officer “to holler at the nurses,” and the officer runs inside and tells medical staff they’re needed.

A medical staffer walks over. The officer tells another officer to call someone “to get out here.”

The officer goes to the paramedics and says “I told her what you said, she doesn’t seem terribly concerned, man, so do I need to get somebody else?”

The video ends after the paramedics roll the stretcher into the hospital.

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