After suppressing the footage for months, the Sacramento Police Department recently released dash cam videos showing the moments before officers gunned down a mentally ill homeless man. Although the 911 dispatcher had been told the man appeared to be mentally ill, the dispatcher never relayed that information to the responding officers.
At 9:31 a.m. on July 11, Sacramento police officers responded to calls concerning a mentally ill man urinating on himself and playing an imaginary keyboard in a residential neighborhood. Witnesses initially reported seeing the homeless man with a knife and a gun, but no gun was ever located.
“There’s a man outside of my apartment with a gun and a knife,” a 911 caller was recorded saying. “There’s children all around, and he’s mentally ill.”
According to the recordings, the dispatcher never informed the responding officers about the man’s precarious mental condition.
In the newly released dash cam videos, Sacramento officers discover 50-year-old Joseph Mann standing near a street corner. Informing them that he does not have a gun, Mann refuses their orders to get on the ground and begins walking away while shouting obscenities at them.
Repeatedly ordered to drop his knife, Mann continues walking away before throwing a small object at their patrol car. As other units arrive, Mann suddenly charges toward a responding police vehicle then immediately takes off running. Another patrol car attempts to run down Mann, but he leaps across the median before they can hit him.
According to a surveillance video obtained by the Sacramento Bee, Mann runs down the sidewalk for a few seconds before halting and turning towards the officers. Mann appears raising his left hand three times and lowering it before officers fire 18 shots, hitting him with 14 bullets.
Although Sacramento police searched the surrounding area for a gun, officers only found a knife on Mann’s body. According to his autopsy and toxicology reports, Mann had methamphetamine in his system when he died.
“We did not locate a gun in this matter,” Sacramento police Chief Sam Somers Jr. stated on Tuesday. “When (officers) got to Mr. Mann, he did not have it. There was about a two-hour delay when investigators got out there and began canvassing. During the canvass, they were not able to locate it.”
Last month, a bystander who witnessed the shooting uploaded his cellphone video of Mann’s death, while the police incessantly refused to release any footage to Mann’s family. Shortly after the Sacramento Bee posted a surveillance video of the deadly shooting this week, the Sacramento police released three dash cam videos to the public.
Family members described Mann as an intelligent college graduate who had succumbed to mental illness five years ago and began living on the streets. Mann’s family has filed both a federal civil rights lawsuit and a claim against the city alleging that officers escalated the situation against a man suffering from an overt mental crisis.