Newly released dash-cam footage depicts in gruesome detail a July incident in which two California police officers intentionally tried to run over a mentally ill man with their cruiser, just before they shot him to death.
“Fuck this guy,” said one officer as 51-year-old Joseph Mann entered his sight. “I’m going to hit him.”
“OK, go for it, go for it,” his partner replied, and the vehicle swerved toward Mann as he crossed the street. After two attempts to run Mann over, the officers switched tactics, leaping from the car and shooting him 14 times.
The officers, identified as Randy Lozoya and John Tennis, have both been placed on modified duty following release of the video.
“They are officers that shouldn’t be in uniform,” Robert Mann, the victim’s brother, told the Sacramento Bee. “If this is their state of mind when they go to work, this doesn’t serve anyone well.”
Mann’s family has since filed a federal lawsuit and a claim against the city of Sacramento, which will be updated to include the revelation that the officers tried to run Mann over with their car.
Police were initially called to the scene by residents of an apartment complex who said that Mann was acting erratically, and that he had a knife. The first police to arrive ordered Mann to drop his weapon and get on the ground. Mann refused, instead throwing a thermos at the police car.
Lozoya and Tennis were called in as backup, and the footage begins as they arrived.
Toxicology reports found methamphetamine in Mann’s system, and his family said in the lawsuit that he was “displaying obvious signs of mental distress.” Mann was in the midst of a mental meltdown, his family said, but the officers did nothing to quell the situation, opting to kill him instead. Via the lawsuit, as published in the Washington Post:
“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.”
“Instead, Officers left their (positions) of safety, cornered Mr. Mann against a (fence/wall) and opened fire on him.”
Witnesses corroborated that account.
“He wasn’t walking toward them being aggressive toward them. I felt that he was just trying to get away and he was crazy,” one witness, Michele Rudek, told the Bee.
“They were obviously just making him feel more and more stressed, there is no question.”