Family of man killed by police wants charges
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. >> The family of a man killed in July by Sacramento police after 911 callers reported he was waving a knife and acting erratically demanded Monday that two officers face murder charges after dash-cam video revealed they talked inside their police cruiser about running him down. He dodged the cruiser twice and was shot 14 times less than a minute later by the same two officers. The officers “behaved like big game hunters closing in on an animal,” said John Burris, a lawyer for the family of Joseph Mann, who was mentally unstable and homeless.
The demand for the murder charges came as Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck defended his officers in the fatal shootings of a black man Saturday who police say was armed with a loaded semi-automatic gun and a Hispanic man on Sunday who officers say was wielding replica handgun.
The latest police shootings happened amid heightened tensions over police actions involving black people and other minorities across the country, and followed two more police shootings by California police last week of black men in San Diego and Pasadena.
In the Sacramento case, police have said Mann was waving a knife in the air and doing karate moves in the streets just before police responded. But Burris told reporters he was not threatening anybody and that the two officers who shot him, John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, should face a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation in addition to murder charges.
The officers can be heard on the recording saying “I’m gonna hit him” and “OK, go for it” before appearing to drive their cruiser twice at Mann, who managed to scramble out of its way both times.