Modesto Police Officer Joseph Lamantia has been fired and arrested for manslaughter for the unjustified shooting death of Trevor Seever. Seever was shot four times by Officer Lamantia on December 29, 2020. He later died at the hospital. No weapon was found. Seever's family had a ratted him out over what they claimed were vague threats made by Seever after purchasing a firearm. Before responding to the 911 call, Officer Lamantia recognized Seever's name from an officer safety bulletin that had been circulating around the MPD accusing Seever of posting a comment on Instagram that read "All I want for Christmas is another dead MPD officer. a good cop is a dead cop." Body camera footage does not show Seever doing anything that justified shooting him. It seems like Officer Lamantia had an itchy trigger finger consistent with his history.
Truthfully stating one's opinion online does not justify using force on someone no matter how threatened an officer might feel when reading their statements weeks later. Despite that it seems that Officer Lamantia responded to Seever's last episode with his mind made up that Seever would only get a couple warnings and that he would shoot if he did not fully comply with his demands. In the video below you can hear Officer Lamantia yell "get on the ground, get on the ground!" right before opening fire. Seever's mother later said "my son was unarmed and was brutally murdered when he had his hand up and complying with Officer Lamantia." She did not say that her son had both hands up or was on the ground before being shot as Officer Lamantia requested, but that does not change the fact that no justification can be found for shooting him. Officers do not have the right to use lethal force on people just because they won't get on the ground or put both hands in the air. The fact that some snitch family member reported him as being armed does not change that analysis. Unless an officer sees someone holding an object that could only be a firearm and use that object in a manner capable of hurting them are they justified opening fire. Seever was never even found to be in possession of anything that could have been mistaken for a gun.
Imagine how many people would be murdered by police every year if they were justified using deadly force whenever they receive a phone call accusing someone of being armed and the subject of that report does not get on the ground right away. It wouldn't be long until people realized that if anyone they want dead is not likely to be fully compliant when accosted by police that all they need do to get them killed is call 911 and say they are armed. That is why it is on the officer to verify the accuracy of reports they receive when those reports accuse someone of being armed. As someone who naturally fights back when accosted by police, especially if they put hands on me before I have time to think about it, I consider trigger happy cops like Lamantia very dangerous. I think back to the time when someone swatted a relative of mine likely hoping I would be there and give the cops an excuse to use force on me when she described me as an armed man with hostages. I have always suspected that person of trying to get me killed by setting me up with the police under circumstances where I would likely not comply if accosted and they would shoot me thinking I had a gun.
Seever is the fourth person killed in an officer involved shooting involving Officer Lamantia since 2010. We are not sure if he fired the fatal shots in those other incidents. The mainstream media has reported his involvement and we believe he fired shots, but just are not sure if his bullets were technically the ones that killed those people. Lamantia was also involved in the non-fatal shooting of a fifth victim back in October. We do not see many cases involving officers linked to so many fatal shootings and when we do they are usually in larger cities and the killing take place over a longer period of time. Needless to say we fully support the decision of Interim Chief Brandon Gillespie to fire Lamantia.
Lamantia is charged with voluntary manslaughter according to his indictment which we are uploading with this article as a PDF (see PDF icon above map). The indictment says that Lamantia "did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, and without malice kill Trevor Seever, a human being, upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion." That sounds an awful lot like murder to us. According to that charge he intentionally shot someone due to "heat of passion" during a sudden quarrel and the person died, but he did not necessarily intend for him to die. The only difference according to the internet (https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/penal-code/192/) is "malice afterthought" which is required to sustain a murder conviction. Malice afterthought exists when someone acted with intent to kill or a conscious disregard for human life. We think that Officer Lamantia acted with at least a conscious disregard for human life and should be charged with third degree murder. Anyone else would be charged with murder under such circumstances, but because of blue privilege people like Lamantia get the benefit of any doubts in the charging process. It seems that the prosecutor's office decided that it would be prudent for their local thin blue line family not to allow a jury to decide if he acted with a conscious disregard for human life and decided that everything happened too quickly for him to think before shooting despite being trained as police officer that should have been able to make educated decisions under such circumstances.
According to public records, Anthony Joseph Lamantia is a 35 year old resident of Hughson, California. Hughson is a small town near Modesto. He is a registered Republican with no prior criminal record. According to jail records he has posted bail and is no longer in custody. Because Lamantia has killed multiple people, appears to be getting away with murder, and in the words of his own department has a history of killing people during sudden quarrels and heats of passion, we consider him a danger to the community. His last known address is listed as 1619 7th Street. If you live in that area be careful around the man pictured on this page. We normally do not post home addresses of cops on this site, which is why it is censored in the map above, but we make exceptions in cases in which we think the subject is a danger to people living nearby, which is why we are including it in the body of this article. We ask that nobody use that address for any unlawful purposes. We think posting it could be useful for people looking at his picture and city while wondering if he might be their neighbor or someone they've associated with at that location. That location should be avoided.