Crime - Sacto 911

Police release footage of knife-wielding mentally ill man’s detention

The Sacramento Police Department released body-camera footage Wednesday of a Nov. 24 standoff with a knife-wielding man.

Several officers responded to calls of a man pointing a knife at several people walking in the 5200 block of Franklin Boulevard about 2:19 p.m. Friday. He had moved to a field by the time officers found him and was visibly suffering from some sort of mental health episode.

In the video, which police edited to omit the man’s name, he often responds to officers’ communication attempts with unrecognizable speech. He declines offers of food and water from Crisis Negotiation Team members, repeatedly drops and picks up the two knives he is carrying and strips half-naked throughout the nine-minute video.

“That’s the problem. It’s difficult because he’s not hearing our voice 90 percent of the time; he’s hearing whatever voice he’s talking to,” an unidentified officer says in the video.

Police said they spent an hour trying to de-escalate the situation before tackling the man and binding his hands and feet. As they do so, he can be heard pleading with them to shoot him.

The man was later taken to a local hospital for psychological evaluation, according to an SPD Facebook post.

Police said releasing the video was part of “an ongoing effort to inform our community on the difficult and complex nature of an SPD officer’s job,” not a result of any policy or mandate, though the department recently began requiring officers to complete 40 hours of nonlethal intervention instruction.

The Police Department came under fire for the July 2016 death of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill man who was shot 14 times by officers while waving a 4-inch knife in North Sacramento. The officers who shot Mann later left the force.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel