(SACRAMENTO) – The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office ruled in favor of two police officers, citing they “lawfully shot” Joseph Mann in North Sacramento on July 11, 2016. Man was shot multiple times by the officers and died from the gunshot wounds.
The DA’s office, under the direction of Anne Schubert released a written statement on Friday, Jan. 27, after making its decision and declaring that the officers in question were “threatened” by Mann with a knife as well as “several civilians.”
“Joseph Mann was acting aggressively while under the influence of methamphetamine,” the DA’s office said in the written statement. “Sacramento police officers attempted to detain Mann after multiple civilian witnesses reported that Mann displayed a knife in a threatening manner and appeared to them to also be carrying a firearm.”
Mann, reportedly dealing with mental issues, was shot at about 16 times by Sacramento Police officers on Del Paso Boulevard in the North Sacramento. The officers, who were responding to a call from area residents about Mann’s erratic behavior, said they shouted out commands for Mann to drop the knife that were not followed.
In September 2016, Members of the City Council were able to see about one minute and thirteen seconds of the video — which graphically showed the final seconds of Joseph Mann’s life before falling to police gunfire.
The video shows Mann clearly running down the sidewalk and at some point, he turned to face the officers in the street who then began shooting immediately. The officers, who appeared to be about six or seven paces away from Mann when his body fell.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued a statement following the DA’s office review. Steinberg wrote that he has an “enormous respect for the men and women” working for SPD, “but what unfolded with Joseph Mann is extremely tragic, unacceptable.”
“We are reminded of that again today with the District Attorney’s decision,” Steinberg stated. “It is why I will be laser focused on the results of the ongoing internal investigation. If the internal investigation concludes officers were following policy, then it is past time for us to change those policies. There must be accountability.”
The Sac DA’s office reviews all officer-involved shootings that results in death or bodily injury. By Law, the DA’s office emphasized, police officers are allowed to use deadly force when feel that their is imminent danger.
“These officers were forced to make a rapid decision,” the DA’s office said in its written statement. “Based on a thorough review of evidence, including multiple in-car camera recordings and surveillance videos. The officers were justified in shooting Mann.”
No one would doubt that the fact police officers have a tough job. But the Sacramento police department has been under constant scrutiny for a few officer-involved shootings that have taken place in the last couple of years.
More importantly, the shootings have been centered around African American males. Daizon Flenaugh, 40 was shot and killed by SPD officers in April 2016 and the DA’s office cleared them of any wrongdoing in that case.
“What else can we do to take responsibility – to show a demonstrable difference – to reconcile outdated policies and practices with where the true heart and culture of our police department and city stands with our community?” Steinberg stated. “It is our responsibility and moral imperative to have the best trained, equipped and supported community police to protect all of our citizens and community at large.”
By Antonio Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer