When Sacramento police gunned down a 50-year-old black man on July 11, they said he was confrontational, carrying a gun in his waistband, and charged at officers with a knife, leaving cops no other option but to open fire.
Now a video of the killing (below) -- shot by a bystander with a cellphone -- shows Joseph Mann was walking away from police when they pumped 16 shots into him in a few short seconds.
The gun didn't exist, according to later reports, and police reluctantly admitted they didn't find a firearm on Mann's body or at the scene.
Now Mann's family is suing the Sacramento Police Department, alleging police shot and killed a mentally ill man without making any attempt to de-escalate the situation or use non-lethal force.
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Mann was shot on a Monday morning after a witness called police at 9:25 a.m. and reported a man "acting erratically," according to the Sacramento Bee. Mann was walking down the street and swinging his hands in the air "as if performing karate chops," police said, when an officer pulled up alongside him and used a megaphone to order him to stop walking.
According to the official police version of events, after several attempts to get Mann to comply, the Sacramento man charged toward them with a knife. The officers feared for their lives, police said, and that's when they opened fire.
But the video, released on Aug. 5 by an attorney who represents the victim's family, shows Mann walking away from police as they try to corral him with their patrol cars. It looks like Mann is walking away, not toward, officers before they open fire -- and the victim wasn't as close to the police as claimed in the first official statements. Mann does not seem to make any sudden movements, as police alleged.
"Oh s---!" the man filming the encounter screamed as gunfire erupted and he dived down on the sidewalk. "Oh my God!"
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When the shaky video settles on the sidewalk again, Mann's form is slumped on the sidewalk, not moving.
Police opened fire on him, "tattooing him from heel to chest with gunshot wounds as he feebly attempted to leave the scene," according to the lawsuit filed by his family.
“He was displaying overt signs of being in the midst of mental crisis,” according to the suit filed by John Burris, the family's attorney. “For example, he was doing karate moves and zigzagging back and forth across the street as he tried to walk away from the officers.”
Burris, who held a news conference attended by local NAACP leaders, told reporters that police have yet to release video from the officers' body cameras and have refused to release recordings of the initial dispatch calls. He says he's asked the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting.
Mann's family told KTXL that Mann was homeless and had been suffering from mental health issues since the 2011 death of his mother.
"For them to gun my brother down in the streets of Sacramento like he was vicious dog ... They need to be held accountable for this," Robert Mann, the victim's brother, told KTXL.
WARNING: Graphic video.