Video proves Sacramento PD executed man during mental health crisis

Joseph Mann
Joseph Mann

On July 11 in Sacramento, Joseph Mann, a 51-year old Black man, was gunned down in the midst of a mental health crisis by officers of the Sacramento Police Department. Over two months later, the city has finally released video footage that shows the wild and erratic police behavior during the incident that left Mann dead. On Sept. 29 enhanced audio further shed light on the cops’ mentality of escalation that led to their killing Mann.

Robert Mann, Joseph Mann’s brother, described him as a good man who would never hurt anyone. His brother said Joseph was 5’4″ and weighed 110 pounds. At the time of his death, he was homeless.

In one of the dashcam videos, one of the squad cars showed up late and immediately accelerated towards Mann after identifying him. At that moment the two SPD officers occupying the vehicle decided to try to run Mann over, chasing him wildly. Twice they nearly struck him before exiting the vehicle and killing Mann with 14 bullets to his body.

go-for-it-670x451-1In response to the release of these videos that so clearly indict the police in this horrific killing, roughly 150 people joined together with Black Lives Matter Sacramento at the place of Mann’s death to denounce the City Council and the Sacramento Police Department for their actions. Not only were the police excessive in their use of force, but the city also withheld the footage from the family until the City Council had a chance to review it.

Roughly half of those killed by the police are suffering mental health crises, and among the demands of people combating police brutality, is that of better training regarding mental health. On April 14, Capitol Public Radio released a story on this very subject and SPD Sgt. Greg Dieckmann was quoted as saying, “Patience and a mindset of de-escalation are key to creating positive outcomes when police interact with anyone in crisis.” However, it seems this particular rolling death squad was not interested in de-escalation.

It might seem to some as if Sacramento is insulated from the national crisis of police brutality. The city is going through a sort of re-branding or image makeover. From the new Golden 1 Center basketball arena just completed downtown, to the push to becoming a ‘”farm to fork” capitol; Sacramento is even being described as “the next Oakland” by the Sacramento Bee, Bizjournals and Thrillist as people move from the heavily gentrified and expensive Bay Area towards the east, towards Sacramento. Whether or not Sacramento is affordable or “cool,” they may in fact be onto something. They only fail to mention how both the Oakland Police Department and the Sacramento PD deal in death and misconduct so effortlessly.

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