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Sacramento DA Clears Police Officers In Joseph Mann Shooting

John Burris / Courtesy

Josephy Mann can be seen facing officers July 11 on Del Paso Boulevard two seconds before he was shot and killed.

John Burris / Courtesy

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office has cleared two Sacramento Police Officers in the shooting death of Joseph Mann last July on Del Paso Blvd.

In a 12-page letter, District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert wrote Mann repeatedly refused to obey officer commands and could have stabbed one civilian or enter businesses, though he did none of those things.

The letter also says Mann had methamphetamine in his system when he turned toward officers with a knife in his hand.

Video of the shooting shows Mann did not advance toward the officers who shot him.

Video of the incident shows Mann throwing a knife in the air, charging a police car, throwing a coffee cup and running from police. But videos do not show him advancing toward the officers who shot him. Instead, the two officers who killed Mann ran toward him. The Mann family says the officers exacerbated the situation and put themselves in danger.

Though, one witness said he saw Mann reaching for something in his back pack or back pocket immediately before he was shot 14 times 

Mann family Attorney Mark Harris calls Schubert's decision "absolutely ridiculous."

"Only the District Attorney and the prosecutorial processes could bring about true justice if in fact, those officers did something inappropriate," says Harris. "We'll never know from a criminal prosecution standpoint whether or not that's the case. That's shameful. The city of Sacramento deserves better than that. The county deserves better than that from its district attorney."

In Schubert's report, she writes that Officer Lozoya could not tell if Mann was holding a knife or a gun. 

Police department policy says less-lethal force, like Tasers, may be used when two officers are confronted with a situation that warrants it.

Neither officer deployed a Taser as they approached Mann and other officers had refrained from deploying their firearms.

As for Mann's mental health, Schubert says interviews with Mann's family revealed he "had no significant mental illness," though family told reporters the next day that he had suffered from mental illness and addiction since the death of his mother. 

The DA's office says it's decision only addresses a violation of criminal law. It does not address "civil liability, police tactics, or department policies or procedures."

The police department issued a statement that says, in part, "The Joseph Mann incident highlights the challenges that law enforcement professionals have when dealing with those suffering from mental illness. We appreciate the renewed energy and focus on this very important issue."

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