By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer
In an effort to be transparent, the Sacramento Police Department regularly releases video footage from incidents where local Black men don’t walk away from interaction with officers. The Department released video footage Thursday, however, that shows the community something it hasn’t seen a lot of lately, a Black man coming out of an intense situation, alive.
The released footage captures an incident that occurred in South Sacramento on April 29 in the 4500 block of Barbee Way. A man, later identified as 24-year-old Josiah Johnson, had allegedly tried to break into a woman’s home. Footage shows Johnson attack two officers and at different points attempting to take their firearms from them. Amazingly, Johnson’s father shows up on the scene and officers were able to safely take the unidentified man into custody.
Tyrone Johnson says he was driving around the neighborhood looking for his son, who was locked out of their house. When he noticed him, he wasn’t alone.
“When I turned the corner, he was being approached by two officers, so I yelled out the window, ‘Hey that’s my son, I got him.’ “I didn’t know what he’d done,” Johnson recalled a week after the incident.
Johnson said he was talking to one of the officers when things went left.
“My son who was sitting there as casually as a lamb, leaped up like a lion and attacked the female officer. The male officer went to engage him and I followed him and went to engage him. He had wrapped himself like a python around the lady and I kept telling him, ‘You’re going to die here man, you’re going to die today.’”
Josiah Johnson didn’t die. He tackled the female officer to the ground and tried to grab her gun from her holster. He’s also accused of trying to grab the second officer’s weapon as well. He also bit his father during the incident. It is unclear whether Johnson was intoxicated or was having some kind of mental issue. He lived, though. His father tearfully thanked officers for not “doing what you should have done probably.”
“I’m sorry this happened, Tyrone Johnson said. “Not just with my child, but all the things that are going on in this world right now.”
Police Chief Daniel Hahn credits the officers for their treatment of the man, including trying to keep him calm earlier on in their response, at one point giving his dog water and at another time, not giving chase as he ran away from them. He says they properly de-escalated a situation that could have been deadly several times.
“That’s what’s so critical for our community to know — that our officers respond to things that there is no black and white rule book for,” Chief Hahn said.
“Things can change at the drop of the dime. I think these two officers and this person’s father showed the compassion that we all know is needed in our community. Everybody survived and can deal with whatever issues they have tomorrow,” Hahn added.