SACRAMENTO — Two panicked 911 calls marked the beginning of the end of what led to Joseph Mann’s life last July.
“He’s waving a knife in the air ,and he’s mentally ill,” one woman told a dispatcher in audio tapes just released about the incident by the Sacramento Police Department.
Officers shout “get down, get down” repeatedly in one of four videos that Mann’s family and the public have demanded be made public.
Mann shows no compliance.
Then the incident that led to Mann losing his life progresses in the clips with him as throwing something at officers following him once he turned onto Del Paso Boulevard.
Shortly after that, the police video shows him run across the street twice — once approaching officers who eventually cut him off and once away from them toward businesses.
Officer John Tennis and Randy Lozoya arrive firing 18 times at Mann — hitting him 14 times, killing him.
Mann’s family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the police approach on July 11 should have been different with someone who was mentally compromised.
Since one 911 caller mentioned possible mental illness, FOX40 asked Chief Sam Somers if those arriving on scene were aware that could be a factor and should it have changed their approach.
He started his response with what the caller said.
“Well, um, it’s very hard for people to do the evaluation. She didn’t know who he was either. She didn’t know his name. She’s just making a characterization. When it comes to approach, if we would have known for sure, I can’t tell,” Somers said.
Sacramento does have special impact teams to help with calls involving the mentally ill, but there’s limited accessibility.
“The impact team that we have, they’re not an intervention team per se. We do have one unit that has the mental health clinician, and that’s a grant that we have from the county, and that’s only for the downtown core. It has limited things we can do. We’d love to enhance that, put that throughout the city, which would obviously greatly enhance what we can do with our mental health population,” he said.
Mann’s family members had not seen the videos that were made public. Somers said a viewing couldn’t be worked out today.
Their lawyer, John Burris, has seen one cell phone video version of the actual shooting.
Speaking to FOX40 by phone from his Oakland office after the police video release he said that clip just shows the shooting wasn’t justified.
Though, Sacramento city council members originally took the advice of the city attorney and did not view the video August 30 because the investigation into the incident was not complete, they did plan to see it Tuesday.
The same presentation that was shared with the press, will be shared with them during closed session meetings before the opening gavel on regular city council business.