Members of the Sacramento City Council backed down Tuesday from a request to view video footage of the police shooting last month of a homeless black man.
Sacramento Police shot Joseph Mann, 51, more than 16 times on Del Paso Boulevard on July 11, according to a lawsuit filed by Mann’s family.
Mann was acting erratically and had a knife, according to police reports. Mann’s family said he suffered from mental illness and officers should have worked to de-escalate the situation rather than confront Mann.
Some council members had asked for access to video and other evidence in the case, according to city officials with knowledge of the issue. But after meeting in a closed session and receiving legal advice, the council members had “decided not to view any of the detail of the police shooting (of) Mr. Mann’s incident,” City Attorney James Sanchez said.
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Sanchez said he had advised the council not to view the video and to withhold further comment on the case until all investigations were complete.
“We will allow the investigation to take its course and provide a complete picture of the facts,” Sanchez said.
He confirmed that a criminal investigation by homicide detectives in the Sacramento Police Department was concluded Tuesday and a report of that investigation was sent to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said yesterday that once the report was received, it would be considered with other components of the investigation, such as toxicology and autopsy reports, as part of its review.
Sanchez added that a civil investigation remained open. That investigation encompasses an internal affairs case within the Sacramento Police Department as well as participation by the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability.
Earlier, Sanchez said that the city had hired Santa Ana lawyer Bruce Praet to advise the council against viewing the video. Praet is a former law enforcement officer with expertise in defending police departments sued for misconduct.
The council made no mention of the Mann case during its public meeting Tuesday night, but some citizens addressed council members about the case.
“As a council, you need to be held accountable for your actions as well as your inactions,” Trina Allen, a community activist, told them.