Family of man shot dead by deputy in Danville speaks out

Family and friends gathered at a Fremont church on Monday to pay their respects to Laudemer Arboleda. 

One by one, white doves were set free into the sky. His mother released the last bird in honor of her son, who suffered from mental illness.

Arboleda, 33, was shot and killed by a Danville police officer on Nov. 3  Authorities say that at the end of a chase, Arboleda tried to run over Officer Andrew Hall, who fired numerous shots through the man's windshield.

"They chose death over life," said John Burris, an attorney representing the family.

Jeannie Atienza, clutching a framed picture of Arboleda, said, "My son is a good person."

They addressed the media right after the funeral service.

"I want justice for my son, due to this unexpected killing and wrongful death, and I will fight. We will fight for him."

They said Arboleda's car was moving slowly and that the officer, who was on foot, could have moved out of the way instead of opening fire at Diablo Road and Front Street in downtown Danville.

"Overzealousness on the part of the police, making something out of nothing, creating a dangerous situation when the person hadn't done anything dangerous," Burris said.

Neighbors had called police, saying Arboleda had been acting strangely and knocking on doors near Cottage Lane and Laurel Drive. A neighbor shared with KTVU a picture of Arboleda running away.

Burris said Arboleda was Filipino and that his race could have played a role.

"This is a classic example of a brown man walking in the neighborhood and somebody viewed that with suspicion," Burris said.

In a statement, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston, whose deputies patrol Danville, said, "This is a tragic case, yet once again John Burris is reaching for his well-worn race card. 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."

Sheriff's officials said their "hearts go out to the Arboleda family. Losing a family member is always sad and difficult."

Arboleda's family says he had no criminal history but at one point had suffered a psychotic break.

Burris said he also takes issue with the fact that police body-cam footage was shared with the officer's attorney and not the family. They will have to wait until a coroner's inquest to view the video, which could be months down the road.