City of Sacramento Police Department

Chief of Police
5770 Freeport Blvd., Suite 100
Sacramento, CA  95822-3516

(916) 808-0800
Fax : (916) 808-0818


For Immediate Release No. 20130528-082
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Death in Custody Investigation


The Sacramento Police Department's investigation into the death of John Torretti, while he was in police custody, continues. The department immediately launched an investigation to understand the full facts of this case and appreciates those who resisted the urge to jump to conclusions during a very tragic situation.  

On May 24, 2013, at 5:46 p.m., a male, white subject in his early 40s, later identified as Torretti, entered a store in the 8300 block of Folsom Blvd and began making nonsensical statements to the female store employee.  The employee feared for her safety and called 911.  Immediately upon the officers' arrival, Torretti engaged in a violent struggle with both officers. 

During this struggle, Torretti overpowered the male officer that responded and for a period of time had the officer pinned down on his back while continuing his physical attack.  The female officer, in an attempt to assist and free her partner, sprayed Torretti with pepper spray which had no effect.  A security guard assisted officers and struck Torretti with a baton which also had little to no effect. Fortunately for the officers, several bystanders rushed to their aid, with one kicking Torretti multiple times in the head and body in an attempt to prevent him from continuing his assault on the officer.

Because of the assistance of others, the officer was able to maneuver himself out from under Torretti who was still being resistant, non-compliant to orders, and was viciously biting the officer's arm.

The female officer then drew her baton and struck Torretti multiple times in the body and legs, also having no effect on him. It was not until an off duty law enforcement officer responded to assist that Torretti was finally subdued and handcuffed.  Tragically and inexplicably, Torretti died a short time later.

The Sacramento County Coroner's Office released their preliminary autopsy results today which revealed that Torretti did not sustain any fatal traumatic injuries as a result of this incident.  These results are consistent with the investigators findings.  Once the toxicology results are completed, it is assumed that a final cause of Torretti's death will be determined.

This incident involved a very violent struggle that was captured on video tape in its entirety from multiple angles.  A video review of this incident revealed that the struggle lasted approximately three minutes and five seconds. Had it not been for the physical intervention of several members of the community, the officers involved in this incident could have also suffered potentially fatal injuries.

The Sacramento Police Department wishes to extend their gratitude to those courageous community members and private security personnel for assisting our officers during this violent struggle.     

The Sacramento Police Department's Homicide, Internal Affairs and Crime Scene Investigations Units are working this investigation in conjunction with the City's Office of Public Safety Accountability and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.     

Sacramento Police Media Relations · (916) 808-0808 ·

The Mission of the Sacramento Police Department is to work in partnership with the Community to
protect life and property, solve neighborhood problems, and enhance the quality of life in our City.