The District Attorney’s Office has determined that two Sacramento Police officers lawfully shot Joseph Mann after he threatened them, as well as other officers and several civilians, with a knife.
On July 11, 2016, Joseph Mann was acting aggressively while under the influence of methamphetamine. Sacramento Police officers attempted to detain Mann after multiple civilian witnesses reported that Mann displayed a knife in a threatening manner and appeared to them to also be carrying a firearm. Mann slashed his knife in the direction of officers and threatened to use it to cause them bodily harm, including yelling that he was going to “gut” them. He ran aggressively at one officer in a vehicle while waving his knife and holding it up in the air in a threatening manner. He rushed directly at a civilian while crossing the road, coming within approximately one foot of her and close enough to stab her or take her hostage. Mann repeatedly refused commands to stop and disarm himself. While attempting to escape from pursuing officers, he ran directly in front of multiple businesses into which he could have easily entered and harmed others.
Instead of continuing to run in a direction where there were no officers, Mann held his knife in a menacing manner and turned directly towards two officers who were in close proximity trying to disarm and arrest him. These officers were forced to make a rapid decision. Fearing for their own safety, the safety of each other, and the safety of the community, the two officers discharged their weapons at Mann as he continued to point his knife at them in a threatening manner. Mann died as a result of his gunshot wounds.
The District Attorney’s Office reviews all officer-involved shootings that result in death or bodily injury. By law, officers are allowed to use deadly force when they reasonably believe they are faced with imminent danger or when making an arrest if there is a substantial risk that the suspect will cause death or serious bodily harm if his apprehension is delayed.
Based on a thorough review of the evidence, including multiple in-car camera recordings and surveillance videos, Mann posed an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the responding officers and the public. The officers were justified in shooting Mann to defend themselves and each other, to protect the public from imminent harm, and to prevent the escape of a suspected felon who posed a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to others.
Our review only addresses whether the officers involved committed any violation of criminal law. We do not address issues of civil liability, police tactics, or department policies or procedures.
The District Attorney’s Office report detailing our factual and legal findings is available to the public. A copy can be found here.
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