California Cops Kill Mentally Ill Man (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Joseph MannJoseph Mann

The Sacramento Police Department released video from three police dashcams and a surveillance camera on Sept. 20 of the police shooting of Joseph Mann, a 50-year-old mentally ill man, on July 11 (video below).

Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers, who was under pressure from the mayor and some city council members, explained at a press conference that two officers shot 18 times at the homeless man, and hit him 14 times, notes The Associated Press.

In the video, Mann is seen running erratically down a street and sidewalk. He is chased by police cars for several minutes. During that time, he got into a karate stance and walked in the middle of an intersection. Two cops willingly chased Mann on foot, and shot him. The officers later said they feared for their lives.

Mann's family filed a federal lawsuit on the claim that Mann showed signs of being mentally ill and that the officers should not have used lethal force on him.

"So, it's unprecedented for us to release video before we go through the adjudication process," Somers told the media. "But with all the information out there we wanted to make sure that we continue to be as transparent as we can."

City council members and the mayor were scheduled to view the video later on Sept. 20.

Police also released recordings of 911 calls that said Mann had a knife, pulled a gun and looked to be mentally ill, notes KRCA.

"There's a guy across the street," one 911 caller stated. "I don't know the exact address, but he's got a gun and a knife."

"There's a man outside of my apartment with a gun and a knife," a second 911 caller told authorities. "And there's children all around, and he's mentally ill."

The 911 dispatcher made no mention of mental illness to police.

"If we would have known that for sure, I can't tell you exactly [how] their approach would have been different," Somers stated during the press conference.

According to Somers, no gun was found, but a knife was discovered at the scene.

Somers explained the department uses a specialized team that can help the police with mentally and chemically impaired people, but that team was not called. Somers said that recent toxicology reports found that Mann had meth in his body.

John Burris, the lawyer for the Mann family, said: "There was nothing about his conduct that suggested he should have been shot multiple times. Any reasonable police officer should have noticed that he was mentally impaired."

The Treatment Advocacy Center released a report in December 2015, "Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Police Encounters," that found people with an untreated mental illnesses were more likely to be killed by the police:

By all accounts -- official and unofficial -- a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness. At this rate, the risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for individuals with untreated mental illness than for other civilians approached or stopped by officers.

Where official government data regarding police shootings and mental illness have been analyzed -- in one U.S. city and several other Western countries -- the findings indicate that mental health disorders are a factor in as many as 1 in 2 fatal law enforcement encounters.

Sources: AP, KCRA, Treatment Advocacy Center / Photo credit: Sacramento Police Department via YouTube 

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