Officers in El Cajon, Calif., responded to a public disturbance call on Tuesday that resulted in the death of an unarmed black man. Alfred Olango’s sister called the police because her brother was “not acting like himself”.
In cell phone footage capturing the aftermath, Olango’s sister cries:
He’s sick, he needs help. I told you guys he’s sick. You guys came and killed my brother. - Alfred Olango’s sister (identity unconfirmed)
Reports conclude Mr. Olango suffered from mental illness. The exact diagnoses of his existing conditions are still unknown. The suspect’s sister has said he suffered a seizure shortly before police arrived, leading her to place the call to 911.
The official police report states that Mr. Olango was uncooperative when they arrived on the scene.
The subject paced back and forth while officers tried to talk to him. At one point, the subject rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together and extended them rapidly toward the officer taking up what appeared to be a shooting stance…The officer with the firearm discharged his weapon several times, striking the subject. - El Cajon Police Dept. Press Release
Mr. Olango was given first aid at the scene and taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Video Footage Unreleased
Police have released a single, still-frame image from a smartphone video that captured the incident. The image appears to show the moment before the officers fired. Mr. Olango is seen in the reported ‘shooting stance’, pointing an object at an officer, while two officers train their weapons on Mr. Olango.
A restaurant worker, who saw the event unfold from the businesses’ drive-through window, captured the video. Police contend that the video was given over voluntarily, though some witnesses at the scene have claimed cell phones were confiscated from employees.
I’m sure at some point in time that video will become public. - Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler, El Cajon Police Department Spokesman
Police in El Cajon do not wear body cameras, and all other known video evidence only captures incidents ensuing after the fatal shots.
Police have confirmed, however, that Mr. Olango was not in possession of a weapon during the incident, but they have not said what object, if any, he pointed at the officers. They promise to conduct a full investigation of the situation.
According to the latest reports, over 100 demonstrators have gathered outside the El Cajon Police Department in protest of the killing. They are calling for a federal investigation into the officer-involved shooting, and demand the video evidence be released to the public.
The incident comes on the heels of two officer-involved shootings that led to the outrage-fueled protests that boiled into riots in Charlotte, NC. The protests are in part an extension of the Black Lives Matter activist movement that calls attention to racial injustice, and advocates for the deinstitutionalization of racism.
One demonstrator outside the police station in El Cajon said she knew Mr. Olango from the time their families spent together in a refugee camp. They came to America from Uganda.
We came to this country to bring our kids, to give them better education and a better future…We suffered too much with the war in Africa. We come here also to suffer again? - Agnes Hasan, Mr. Olango’s acquaintance