The Sacramento City Council was expected to vote Tuesday evening on a financial settlement in the fatal police shooting of Joseph Mann in North Sacramento.
Bruce Praet, a private attorney working on Sacramento’s defense in the federal lawsuit filed by Mann’s father, said Tuesday that a tentative settlement in the “mid- to high six figures” has been reached and he recommended that the city accept it. City Hall sources confirmed that the deal was on the agenda for a closed-session Tuesday meeting of the City Council.
Mann’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in October alleging that two officers, John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, failed to properly de-escalate their confrontation before resorting to lethal force.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office on Friday cleared the officers of any legal wrongdoing in the July 11 shooting of Mann, who was wielding a knife. But Mann’s family and community activists have said the officers exacerbated the situation by aggressively trying to run over the mentally ill man with their car and chasing him on foot before shooting him dead.
Robert Mann, Joseph Mann’s brother, said his family decided to settle its lawsuit in part because they did not want to face a lengthy jury trial. He said he is “disappointed” by the outcome of the lawsuit but could not elaborate because of a protective order.
Praet said he could not comment further because the protective order prohibits parties from discussing details, but he said the specific settlement amount will be public record when the deal is finalized. City Attorney James Sanchez said earlier Tuesday in an email that he “can’t comment on settlement negotiations.”
Joseph Mann was shot and killed July 11 by Tennis and Lozoya after 911 callers reported a man acting erratically and armed with a knife and gun. Mann was later found to have a knife with a 3.5-inch blade, but no gun was ever found.
Officers followed Mann in their cruisers for several minutes, attempting to de-escalate the situation. When Tennis and Loyoza arrived, Tennis twice attempted to hit Mann with his cruiser before the duo pursued him on foot and fired 18 shots.
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office deemed that the officers acted lawfully.
“Officers Tennis and Lozoya 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,” prosecutors concluded.
The Police Department has an ongoing internal affairs investigation, and the city hired an outside investigator to examine the Mann case and another police shooting in April. The investigator, Michael Gennaco, said that he will wait until the internal investigations are complete before issuing his report in order to include an analysis of that process.
Francine Tournour, head of the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability, said her office is also conducting a review, and she expected it to be complete by late spring.
Praet said the settlement does not require Police Department changes, “but the city has already taken many steps, which the family is pleased with.”
John Burris, lawyer for the Mann family, suggested early in the litigation that policy changes might be required as part of any resolution. Burris said Monday that he could not comment until the settlement was final.
Numerous changes have been put in place as a result of the Mann shooting and the shooting of Dazion Flenaugh in April. Among them is a new use-of-force policy that stresses that the “sanctity of life is inviolable,” and instructs the department to implement policies aimed at de-escalation.
The city also passed an ordinance to release all video in critical incidents such as police shootings. In December, the City Council also approved $750,000 for crisis intervention training for all police officers during the next two years.
Robert Mann said he intended to remain active to push for further transparency and accountability within the Police Department.
“I’m not going to give up the fight,” he said.