Sacramento police shot their brother — two years before Stephon Clark

Residents of working-class Meadowview, near where Clark died, bristle at the mention of businesses that won’t come to their neighborhood — like big name, full-scale supermarkets — and the ones that seem all too abundant, like check-cashing stores, dialysis centers and, most recently, a proposed day counseling center for federal prison parolees. The latter would come courtesy of America’s biggest for-profit prison company.

“Something’s gotta change,” said Rakeem Murdock, 18, as he waited near Thursday’s overflowing memorial for Clark, whom he did not know. “I mean, look around you. This sparked a movement. This is a revolution.”

The last explosive case involving Sacramento police centered on Joe Mann, a 50-year-old who family members said suffered from schizophrenia and who had worked for many years at a supermarket, before becoming a counselor for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was the youngest of five children brought by his parents from an economically distressed town in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

Sacramento police shot their brother — two years before Stephon Clark
Sacramento police shot their brother — two years before Stephon Clark

In official Sacramento police reports from the day he died, Mann was described as an unstable, ranting man, who a 911 caller said was carrying a knife and a gun.

The first police unit on the scene in the crime-heavy Del Paso Heights neighborhood kept its distance and tried to talk Mann down. But a second cruiser arrived and those officers quickly escalated the encounter. One said “f— this guy” and soon tried to ram Mann with his patrol car, a dashboard camera revealed. Moments later, in an encounter that isn’t clear on camera, the two officers are out of their car and shooting. They hit Mann a total of 14 times.

His knife was found at the scene but not a gun.

Police initially emphasized the threat posed by Mann — stressing that he had made karate-style movements as he moved away from police and failed to comply with commands to stop. A spokesman said Mann turned toward the officers and raised the knife before the officers opened fire.

After Mann’s death, his family began a campaign that relied heavily on the media to bring attention to their case. When a witness’s cellphone video showed the police cruiser trying to ram Joe Mann, it created pressure on the department, which had hesitated to release its own video, said Robert Mann.

A picture of Joseph Mann, who was killed by Sacramento Police, is displayed at a news conference held by his sister, Deborah, center, and brother, Robert Mann, right, in Sacramento, California, on Oct. 3, 2016.Rich Pedroncelli / AP file

Fifteen months later, Sacramento’s first black police chief sent a two-paragraph letter to the family. After “thoroughly investigating,” the department found “improper conduct by our employees,” wrote Chief Daniel Hahn, adding that “appropriate action has been taken.” But the chief said state law prohibited him from providing further details.

Investigations by the family, The Sacramento Bee and others revealed that one of the officers, John Tennis, had previously been prevented from carrying a gun following accusations of domestic violence and child abuse. He had to get clearance from a judge to allow him to carry his weapon on the job.

The Sacramento County district attorney’s office determined in January 2017 that the officers had not committed a crime when they shot Mann.

Mann’s father, William Mann Sr., reached an out-of-court settlement in February 2017 that paid $719,000, sources told The Sacramento Bee. The dead man’s siblings filed their own lawsuit in federal court, which the city is trying to have thrown out. But Mann’s four brothers and sisters said they are persisting, because the case is about more than money.

“They could have tazed him, or bean-bagged him, but none of that was brought into the picture,” said Robert Mann, 54, who works for a company that assembles electric utility trucks. “All they did was murder my brother.

“We have a letter saying that they were wrong. But we feel like there is no accountability and accountability means some sort of [criminal] prosecution,” he added. “We are upset. We are angry.”

Related

Stephon Clark was shot 7 times from behind, private autopsy finds

After Clark’s death, the Manns have done a handful of interviews, but said they mostly stayed away from the marches and public protests. They are letting the media put out word to the Clarks that they are ready to talk, if and when the time seems right.

“It’s a club nobody wants to be in,” said Vern Murphy-Mann. “If anybody can understand, we can. We would meet with them to share whatever we can, to help them in their journey of healing.”

Similar Posts