SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Friends who saw a man minutes before his violent struggle with Sacramento Police on Friday night said they noticed nothing out of the ordinary with him.
“He seemed just fine,” said Jerry Kroger, a friend of John Torretti’s. “I asked him how he was and he said he was doing great and that he would be right back to talk to me.”
But Kroger would never see his friend again. Minutes after that conversation, Kroger saw police cars and crime scene tape. Torretti died after an encounter with police that was captured on video by an anonymous CBS13 viewer.
“I understand he’s a big guy, but I’ve never seen him hurt a fly,” Kroger said.
Kroger said Torretti was homeless and sometimes appeared to show signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“Just by the way he carried himself, and he was always cautious,” Kroger said.
The city of Sacramento’s Public Safety Accountability Office is monitoring the Sacramento Police Department’s investigation—something they do in any high-profile case like this one.
“We try to go in and give this unbiased look at the whole situation,” said director Francine Tournour. “We don’t go in with police lenses. We don’t go in with anything other than the community’s interest in mind.
“And to do that, we have to wait until the investigation is complete.”
That means waiting for the coroner to determine Torretti’s cause of death. The coroner’s office has said he did not suffer fatal traumatic injuries during that struggle, but toxicology results are still pending.
But his friends have questions, and wonder if the use of force was necessary on a man they only saw as caring.
“Happy, smiling—just what I’ve heard on the news so far, it don’t sound like him at all,” Kroger said.