911 calls and body camera footage released in case where a man was shot and killed by Sacramento police

A spokesperson for Michael Wright’s family said he was having a mental health crisis at the time of his death

Sara Nevis

Samaha Samy

A 52-year-old man shot by Sacramento police made a 911 call during a mental health crisis said his family’s spokesperson at a News conference at the California State Capitol building Thursday.  

Michael Wright was shot and killed Nov. 4 by police officers responding to a disturbance call made at the Park City Court apartment complex. Jamilia Land, spokesperson for Michael Wright’s family, said Wright made a call to 911 prior to his death in the middle of a mental health crisis, saying he believed his mother was being held hostage and his girlfriend was being raped at the apartment complex.

“We are not here today to say that he was innocent,” Land said. “What we are here to say is that too many times in this country whether armed or unarmed, Black men are losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement that are suffering from severe mental health disorders.” 

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The City of Sacramento’s police department news release reported that officers observed an injured male on the ground with a large amount of blood around him and that the male suspect Michael Wright was also seen actively assaulting the man with a knife. 

“One of the first arriving officers fired his rifle in defense of the victim, striking the suspect,” the news release stated.

Land said that Wright’s victim, identified as Martin Neely, was in a mental health crisis as well and was a friend of Wright’s. Land said the family reviewed the video and audio taken by the police officers’ body cameras at the time of Wright’s death with Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn before the News conference. 

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“You will hear him say things that may not make sense unless you’re able to look through the lens of someone who is having a severe mental health crisis,” Land said regarding the 911 call that Wright made.

Rosemarie Wright, Michael Wright’s mother, expressed her concern of the media’s portrayal of her son.

“So you guys, you write stories about him but you really don’t know him, you really don’t,” Rosemarie Wright said. “Please don’t destroy and attack his character.”

Land said that the media must have integrity when reporting this incident.

“The media reported that the stabbing victim [Martin Neely], in this case, was found in a pool of blood and that he had severe  life-endangering injuries,” Land said. “But what you all don’t know is that less than 48 hours after this occurred Mr. Neely was discharged from the hospital.”

Land said Neely was seen walking through his apartment complex with bags of groceries and waving at his neighbors after being discharged.