SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — Stunning dashboard-camera video capturing a Sacramento police officer saying "Fuck this guy" moments before he and his partner fired 14 bullets into a mentally ill homeless black man has reignited pleas for an investigation into the fatal shooting.
The videos, which were released more than two months after the July 11 incident amid growing political pressure from the Sacramento City Council and the public, show officers approaching and eventually shooting and killing Joseph Mann in broad daylight on a busy street.
Among the most controversial aspects of the video shows Mann, 51, dodging police and darting across the boulevard as the officers appear to be trying to hit him with their police cruisers.
"I am going to hit him," one officer says.
"Go for it," another officer responds.
Just moments later police cornered Mann against a storefront and shot him 14 times. The shooting happened four days after the deadly ambush of law enforcement in Dallas.
Now nearly three months after the shooting, Mann's family and prominent civil rights attorney John Burris claim police "behaved like big game hunters closing in on an animal" and on Monday called for a federal investigation and murder charges to be filed against the two "renegade" officers.
"Here we have the mindset of the officers," Burris said of the video during a press conference Monday. "We have the officers saying clearly what's on their minds."
Burris demanded Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Shubert to pursue murder charges against officers Randy Lozoya and John Tennis, and also issued a formal request to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the "premeditated execution" of Mann.
"The citizens of Sacramento have long lived in fear of the Sacramento Police Department. That fear has only been intensified now that we have all witnessed officers gun down a feeble man in broad daylight. In light of the foregoing, it is imperative that the Department of Justice address this incident and prosecute the involved officers for the wrongs they committed against Joseph Mann," Burris wrote in the DOJ request.
Burris, who filed a federal lawsuit against the city on behalf of Mann's family in August, said Tennis has a "long history of disturbing behavior" with the Sacramento Police Department dating back to 1997 when he killed a black man while on duty. The Oakland-based attorney said the family will update its lawsuit to include the recently enhanced dashboard video.
According to a 1998 investigation by then-Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully, Tennis and several of his partners were in an officer-involved fatal incident. The suspect, Albert Glenn Thiel, was killed after fleeing and fighting with police.
The coroner listed "mechanical asphyxia due to blunt-force trauma of the neck" as the cause of death.
After reviewing the evidence, which included Tennis attempting to place a carotid-control hold or chokehold on Thiel, Scully declined to pursue involuntary manslaughter charges against any of the officers.
Four videos were released two weeks ago by police but the enhanced versions - first reported by the Sacramento Bee - starkly contradict the department's initial version of the July 11 encounter.
Officers said they were called by neighbors who reported seeing a black man brandishing a knife while walking through an apartment complex. They said Mann, who was mentally ill, matched the callers' description and that he charged at a police vehicle with a knife before fleeing from officers and ignoring commands coming from a loudspeaker.
"Still armed with a knife, he took a combative posture towards officers while failing to comply with any commands given by them. During this time, the suspect was observed reaching for his waistband as if he was trying to retrieve a weapon," the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement.
In the wake of the shooting the police refused to release the dashboard video, claiming that the shooting was still under investigation.
The Sacramento District Attorney's Office said it is still reviewing the massive police report, which consists of over 50 multimedia disks.
"We are in the process of our review and continue to balance our desire to complete this investigation in a timely manner with the overarching need to ensure any conclusions we reach are the result of a thorough and methodical evaluation of the facts and the law," the DA's office said in a statement.
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