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Family Of Man Killed By Sacramento PD Says Officer Unfit To Serve

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The attorney for the family of Joseph Mann, John Burris.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

*Warning: Video contains graphic content of a man being shot and killed. 

The family of Joseph Mann has amended a lawsuit against the city and two officers. John Tennis and Randy Lazoya shot Mann to death last month in Del Paso Heights.

The suit says the officers failed to follow standard procedures for interacting with people who have mental illness.

The suit also says Officer Tennis should not have been on patrol due to stress in his personal life and because of a restraining order. In May 2012 an order prevented him from carrying a firearm.

In June of that year, however, the police department supported a motion to restore Tennis' ability to carry his service weapon.

John Burris is the Mann family's attorney.

"They shouldn't have made the request. They should have accepted the notion and even after making that request, he still had other problems that developed after that in terms of alcoholism. He has been suspended since then. So, the fact you have a gun and you have alcoholism, these are issues that put the department on notice that this particular officer has issues that make him unfit to be a police officer at this place and time."

Police Chief Sam Somers was a Deputy Chief in 2012 when he wrote a letter to El Dorado County judge Judge Kenneth Melikian that said in part, "The Sacramento Police Department is unable to re-assign Tennis to another position where a firearm is unnecessary."

The lawsuit says Tennis entered a rehabilitation facility two years ago.

The lawsuit seeks damages from the officers and the city of Sacramento. The family is also seeking an apology from the City and police video of the incident.

The department issued a statement that did not comment on the lawsuit, but did offer condolences to the Mann family.


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