This is a tale of two Sacramento-area men who were killed by cops this summer. One was black, one was white. Both supposedly were holding a knife at the time they were shot.
On September 20, the Sacramento Police Department released the dash cam footage from the officer’s vehicle. The two officers, Randy Lozoya and John Tennis, tried to run over Joseph Mann, 50, before firing 18 rounds and killing him.
The two veteran officers who pumped Joseph Mann with 14 bullets seemingly tried to hit the mentally distressed black man with their patrol vehicle—twice—before gunning him down on a north Sacramento sidewalk this past July.
The officers were responding to 9-1-1 calls of a man acting erratically. One caller claimed Mann had a gun, the other claimed he had a knife. “[B]oth 911 callers told dispatchers they believed Mann was experiencing mental illness;” did the dispatcher share this with cops?
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PSA to all cops everywhere: eyewitness testimony is all-too-often crap. Why should 9-1-1 reports be any different? From Jon M. Shane, professor of law, police science and criminal justice administration at John Jay College in New York:
He said it’s not unusual for 911 callers located in inner cities to lie about seeing a gun in the hopes of speeding up police responses. “It happens all the time,” he said.
And in 2014, the Huffington Post used media reports to compile a list of unarmed waistband shootings since 2010. The list is, admittedly, partial. But damning.
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There’s a small knife in that hand, but the two officers are about 15 feet away, standing in the road. Mann gestures again. As he lifts the hand one more time, he doubles over suddenly and lurches back, crumpling to the ground as the two cops fire their guns and close the distance.
One witness is Mary Walsh Allmond, who was “sitting in the front car of a stopped light-rail train when she witnessed Mann die several feet away… She says she watched Mann cross toward the sidewalk, where he broke into a jog, then stopped and turned around.”
I had a direct line on him. I could hear the cops, or someone, screaming stop. He stopped, and he turned around. And when he turned around, he looked over at the train. And when he looked over at the train, they shot him. I saw his face. He looked bewildered.
The Ruderman Family Foundation estimates that disabled individuals account for one-third to one-half of all people killed by law enforcement officers.
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On August 18, three other men in America were shot and killed by law enforcement officers.
Daniel Harris, 29, was in North Carolina.
Joseph Weber, 36, was half-way across the country in Kansas.
And Chad Irwin, 40, was in California.
You’ve probably not heard their stories, unless you live in their communities.
Separated by thousands of miles, all three died near places where they would have felt safe. For Harris and Irwin, it was outside their homes. For Weber, it was outside his place of work.
All three men were white.
Police responded to a call from Irwin’s wife who was concerned about his mental state. Reportedly he had a folding knife in his hand when shot by a Sacramento County deputy outside his home.
He died at the scene. His body remained on the ground outside his home for almost 10 hours.
Ramos said she told deputies that she and her husband had gotten into an argument before he decided to leave … “They were in some kind of verbal domestic violence,” Ramos said about the call. “We don’t have any information that she was physically abused.”
There has been no local news followup on the name of the officer involved or the outcome of the investigation.
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There has been no reported pushback on Irwin’s death; there are no local news reports of the outcome of the investigation or the name of the officer involved.
On September 21, demonstrators protested Mann’s death. The peaceful protest followed release of the video footage from two months prior.
At some point we have to admit to ourselves that incidents like these, often involving someone who is disabled, happen too often to be aberrations.
Ironically, the best database of Americans killed by cops is maintained by the London (UK) Guardian. Think about that for a moment. As of this writing, 807 have died at the hands of cops this year. This is more than two a day.
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill, wiredpen.com