Demonstrators assemble in downtown Sacramento, protesting Joseph Mann decision

Robert Mann and more than 100 protestors shut down I-5 on-ramp Wednesday afternoon while marching in protest of district attorney's decision to clear officers in fatal shooting of Joseph Mann.
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Robert Mann and more than 100 protestors shut down I-5 on-ramp Wednesday afternoon while marching in protest of district attorney's decision to clear officers in fatal shooting of Joseph Mann.
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Sacramento settles fatal police shooting of Joseph Mann for $719,000

By Anita Chabria

achabria@sacbee.com

February 02, 2017 01:44 PM

The city of Sacramento has announced it has resolved a civil lawsuit in the July fatal police shooting of Joseph Mann, confirming reports from earlier in the week.

In an unattributed statement issued late Wednesday, the city said “there is no admission of liability on the part of the city,” but “at this time it is in the best interest of the city, and all parties to settle this matter.”

The city has agreed to pay $719,000 to Mann’s father, William Mann Sr., according to a source close to negotiations. The city did not immediately respond Thursday to a request to confirm the amount.

John Burris, a noted civil rights lawyer who represented William Mann, said that while the settlement amount was not as large as those given in other police-shooting cases across the country, the litigation was successful because it spurred police reforms. From the time he filed the suit in October, Burris said the family wanted changes in department policies as part of any settlement.

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“We got the reform,” Burris said. “That’s huge.”

Burris said he was impressed by the way community and political leaders responded to the Sacramento incident. He has litigated police use-of-force cases in many cities, including the high-profile shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police in Oakland that resulted in a $2.8 million settlement in 2011.

“Sacramento had much more willingness to look at this issue than other communities I’ve been involved in,” Burris said. “I was really pleased by the way that process worked … kudos to the community and police and City Council to admit a problem. This case brought about change.”

But Robert Mann, Joseph Mann’s brother, said he was “disappointed” by the outcome of the lawsuit. Robert Mann was not officially a party in the suit, though he was involved in the proceedings. Legally, Burris said, only Joseph Mann’s father had standing to pursue the civil litigation.

On Wednesday night, Robert Mann joined about 200 Black Lives Matter protesters for a rally and march that shut down several major downtown-area intersections during rush hour. Demonstrators called for the resignation of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who last week issued a report that said the two officers who killed Mann acted lawfully.

The 50-year-old black man was shot and killed July 11 by the officers after 911 callers reported a man acting erratically and armed with a knife and gun. Joseph Mann was later found to have a knife with a 3.5-inch blade, but no gun was found.

Before the march, Robert Mann worried that the settlement could lead city leaders to sweep important issues “under the rug.” He is still tracking the status of the two officers, John Tennis and Randy Lozoya, who remain on modified duty while an internal-affairs investigation continues into how they handled the incident.

Mann said he doesn’t believe the officers should remain on the force.

“I have no problem with law enforcement,” he said. “I have a problem with bad cops who do their job incorrectly.”

Judith Odbert, an attorney for the officers, has not returned a request for comment.

Joseph Mann’s sister, Vanessa Brown-Mann, also attended the march. She said that she would like to see a return to more community policing. Walking with protesters, Brown-Mann said she recalled knowing officers in her neighborhood personally when she was young, and thought that type of relationship was helpful to communities.

Recently, interim police Chief Brian Louie put 10 officers back into a neighborhood-based policing program that the City Council has long wanted.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa