Recently unveiled dashcam footage shows Sacramento Police Department officers attempting to hit and run over homeless black man Joseph Mann, who was undergoing a mental health crisis, with their police cruiser before opening fire and killing him.
The video captures Officers Randy Lozoya and John Tennis as they were responding to reports from local residents at an apartment complex Mann was acting unusually and was in possession of a knife and gun, the Sacramento Bee reported. While law enforcement personnel in one patrol car which arrived first attempted to de-escalate the situation, audio-enhanced video released by the paper on Friday captures Lozoya and Tennis deciding to simply run Mann over.
"Fuck this guy," says one of the policemen. "I'm going to hit him."
"Okay, go for it," says the other. "Go for it."
After missing Mann once, the cruiser accelerates towards him again on the other end of the street. It turns and swerves as Mann runs past a civilian.
"Watch it!" an officer says. "Watch! Watch!"
Seconds later, one of the officers says "We'll get him. We'll get him." After the two police leave their car, inaudible shouting can be heard before the officers opened fire with 18 rounds, hitting Mann with 14 of them.
Witnesses told the Bee Mann, who was never found in possession of a gun, had been threatening officers with a knife but did not seem to pose a threat as responding law enforcement remained in their vehicles.
Mann "was definitely threatening back, but he was walking away and [the police] were following," Michele Rudek told the paper. "He wasn't walking toward them being aggressive toward them. I felt that he was just trying to get away and he was crazy."
"Inexplicably, the Officers failed to contact any properly trained mental health counselors or make any attempt to use less than lethal force and ignored the established police protocols to make attempts to de-escalate the situation," reads a lawsuit filed by Mann's family, according to the Bee. "Instead, Officers left their [positions] of safety, cornered Mr. Mann against a [fence/wall] and opened fire on him."
According to KilledByPolice, a group which tracks media accounts of police killings across the U.S., some 866 people have been reported dead this year in interactions with police officers. A Washington Post tally of officer-involved fatal shootings puts the tally at 719 in 2016 so far, just short of a quarter of the deceased (175) were black, and a similar number (173) reported to live with some kind of mental illness.
A separate incident in El Cajon, California, involving another mentally ill black man, Alfred Olango, has spurred days of protests. Officers shot Olango after he drew a vaping device they mistook for a weapon from his pocket.