Innocent people are accused of crimes all the time. Unfortunately, it often comes down to a question of “he said, she said.” However, after a former police officer was suspected of making up a story about a non-existent shooting suspect, the officer is now facing criminal charges of her own.
In September of 2016, Officer Sherry Hall radioed for help claiming she'd been shot. Hall said she'd encountered a mentally disturbed black man in a green shirt who shot her in the abdomen. Hall said the suspect shot without warning, and when she took cover, he ran off into the woods. Luckily for Hall, there were no life-threatening injuries, claiming her bulletproof vest saved her life.
In a local news interview, Hall claimed she was angry and upset that the suspect had such little regard for human life. The police were actively searching for the suspect and some residents were worried. Then, upon closer investigation, Hall's story began to fall apart. Within ten days, the police and investigators had gone from a manhunt to turning their suspicions on the officer.
Hall claimed her dashboard camera and audio recording devices were not turned on. Eventually, the manufacturer of the equipment was able to recover video and audio data, showing inconsistencies with her version of the story. After state investigators watched the previously missing video footage with Hall, she reportedly stopped cooperating with the investigations.
State investigators have said there never was a suspect shooter and Hall made the whole story up. “There is no person out there that needs to be found,” said a local District Attorney.
According to the mayor, “our citizens have been made to fear that a shooter was loose in our community. I am disappointed that anyone would cause such fears.”
Investigators have not said why Hall may have created the story, or whether she shot herself on accident or intentionally fabricated the event. According to the police chief, there had been no major complaints about Hall prior to the shooting incident.
A grand jury has indicted the former officer on 11 counts, including making false statements, violating the oath of office, interference with government property, and tampering with evidence. Hall was fired from the police department and her certification was suspended.
“People are human and we expect mistakes to be made,” said Sheriff Gary Long. “Officers are humans too, but I assure you that this is no mistake, this is a criminal act that tarnishes every badge worn across the United States of America.”
According to news reports, Hall maintains her innocence and says the local community is involved in a cover-up. She also says she suffers post-traumatic stress after the shooting.
If you have been falsely accused of a crime, contact an experienced East Bay attorney who will fight for you. With over 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a criminal conviction can affect your future and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing criminal charges, contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.