UPDATE: Sacramento City Council No Longer Requesting to See Body Cam Footage of Police Shooting

UPDATE: The Sacramento City Council is no longer requesting to see body camera footage of a police shooting last month. 

City Attorney James Sanchez said he advised council not to look at the video until the investigation is complete. 

"The City Council met in closed session, and based upon the advice of the city attorney, decided not to view any of the detail of the police shooting, Mr. Mann's incident. And at this point, there won't be any further comment from the city," Sanchez said. 

When asked about the decision, a city council member said they were advised by the city attorney not to comment on the decision because it is pending litigation. 


SACRAMENTO -- A video recorded on July 11 by a bystander shows the scene as two Sacramento police officers shoot Joseph Mann 16 times after they, and other witnesses, say he threatened them with a knife.

As the officers open fire, the amateur videographer flinches, leaving crucial seconds of the incident undocumented and vital questions unanswered.

But it isn't the only video of the incident. There is, reportedly, police body camera footage that no one outside the Sacramento Police Department has ever seen.

Until Tuesday.

"It's very unusual, yes," said Attorney Kinsey Reynolds of the Sacramento City Council request to view the video.

That request has been made before the police department has completed its investigation into what happened.

"The city council is jumping the gun," said Police Officer Association President Tim Davis. "Officers should be judged by the legal process, not the gut reaction people have when they view a video."

The city council request comes amid mounting pressure from the Mann family and their attorney, John Burris, who says the police have been trying to cover up missteps in Joseph Mann's death.

"They should be fired!" Burris shouted at a recent press conference in front of Sacramento's Federal Courthouse, where he has filed suit against the city.

The city manager, who takes direction from city council, oversees the police department. So according to the city attorney, he has the legal right to show them the video even before the investigation is complete.

But does it make sense?

"It does, and it doesn't," said Reynolds, who pointed out the council may favor transparency in the current political climate surrounding police use of deadly force.

But she also said seeing video out of context could compromise an investigation.

The police video of Mann's death is a public record, but one officers don't have to make public until after their investigation is complete.