Pennsylvania — After a year of historic national movement building by the Movement for Black Lives and a month that has seen renewed attention to racist violence targeting Asian American communities, the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API PA), PA’s first and only statewide political organization dedicated to the needs and interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities denounces the choice made by Monroe County District Attorney David Christine to blame a teenager having a mental crisis for being shot, and his family for their grief, instead of holding accountable the officers for shooting him. API PA calls on Attorney General Josh Shapiro to initiate an independent and fair investigation into the Pennsylvania State Police’s actions that lead to Christian’s death.
Christian Hall, a 19-year-old Chinese American, was experiencing a mental health crisis in Monroe County, PA on December 30th, 2020, to which the Pennsylvania State Police responded by shooting him seven times. Having a mental health crisis should not be a death sentence. Additionally, video evidence shows that Christian had his hands up, while holding a toy gun, when the police opened fire.
API PA has been working with local organizations Lehigh Valley Stands Up and Monroe County NAACP, as well as the Hall family, to call on Monroe County District Attorney David Christine to release the names of the officers who killed Christian and either commit to a fair investigation of the shooting or turn the case over to the Attorney General. After yesterday’s press conference, in which the Office of DA Christine distorted the truth, painted the Hall family as unreliable, and ultimately blamed Christian for his own murder, the coalition now sees that the only hope for a thorough, impartial, and just investigation of the case lies with Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and calls on him to use the considerable powers at his disposal to seek justice for Christian Hall.
API PA’s Co-Executive Director Mohan Seshadri said: “From Atlanta, Georgia to Monroe County, Pennsylvania and everywhere in between, the systemic violence affecting Asian Americans shows the need for our government at all levels to directly invest in Asian American communities. We need funded, culturally-competent mental health care and community-based responses to both state-based and hate-based violence, so that when tragedies like this occur we have pathways for accountability and reform. And first and foremost, we need justice for Christian Hall.”
Lehigh Valley Stands Up Regional Organizer Ashleigh Strange said, “Every Law Enforcement Department in the Lehigh Valley has blood on their hands. Seeing DA Christine’s office put the blame on Christian, the victim in this incident, is exactly what we expected. This is why we are pushing for a full investigation by the Attorney General of PA. What happened to Christian and his family will absolutely happen again unless we work to create an environment where people who are seeking help can receive it without being murdered. Our hearts go out to Fe and Gareth Hall as they continue to be traumatized by the systemic white supremacy that took their son’s life.”
The Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance’s (API PA) mission is to build long-term power for APIs in Pennsylvania, by coordinating political, electoral, and legislative work to hold our elected officials accountable, engaging in culturally competent and linguistically accessible direct voter contact with our communities, and building solidarity with other aligned communities of color across the state.