As former Sacramento police Officer John Tennis described the moments leading up to his shooting and killing Joseph Mann, I listened, stunned. As his interview with Raheem F. Hosseini continued, my frustration and outrage grew. Finally, I had to confront him.
I asked him how it could be that he did not even say a word to this man before shooting him to death. “You didn’t give him a chance,” I said.
I reminded Tennis that he had just gotten done telling us that at the time, he believed that this man was a veteran with PTSD. I asked him how he, himself a veteran, could gun down Mann without even saying a word. By that point, I was shaking.
Reading the story that came out of that interview (“Confessions of a killer cop”), I see a detailed investigation into Tennis’ actions, and his career, filled with damning revelations. I see a compassionate portrait of Joseph Mann that reveals him to have been a loving son and brother.
I believed, and continue to believe, that this story could bring the case back into the public spotlight and help change in the Police Department, maybe in the District Attorney’s office.
Dozens of posts have since appeared, ouitraged that SN&R was “glorifying” or “humanizing” Tennis and “ignoring” Mann. Over the past week or so, I have wondered how anyone could not see what I see when I read this article.
I think I have figured that out. I did not grow up facing constant hostility from those in power. As outraged as I might feel witnessing police officers nationwide getting away with murder, the people they are killing do not look like me. I can’t expect everyone who is living a life very different from my own to see things the way I do.