Officials Release Videos of Fatal El Cajon Shooting

Monday, October 3, 2016

Officials in Southern California have released two videos in connection with the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.

Alfred Okwera Olango, 38, was shot and killed by an officer with the El Cajon Police Department Tuesday night. His sister had called 911 saying that he was "not acting like himself" and walking in traffic, endangering himself and others, police said.

When police arrived, Olango allegedly refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from his pocket, according to police. At one point, Olango "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," police said Tuesday. That's when one officer deployed his Taser and another fired his gun several times, striking Olango, according to police.

The El Cajon Police Department, along with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, decided to release the videos due to misinformation circulating that had "potential to create unrest in the community," said El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis at a press conference today.

In surveillance video from the drive-thru of a taco shop, an officer can be seen pursuing Olango, who switches directions every time the officer nears him. A police squad car then enters the frame, and another officer exits the car.

In another video, taken from a witness' cell phone, an officer is seen pointing a gun at Olango, and a woman screams as shots are fired and Olango falls to the ground.

A still image of the object Olango pulled out of his pocket was also shown at the press conference. On Wednesday, police revealed that the object Olango had pulled from his pants pocket was a vape smoking device. He did not have a gun on him when he was shot, according to police.

The moment when Olango allegedly pulls the object out of his pocket during the police encounter was not abundantly clear in the videos. San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that a conclusion has not been made and that the investigation is ongoing.

Olango's death spurred protests in El Cajon, about 16 miles northwest of San Diego, which were mostly peaceful until late afternoon on Wednesday, Davis said, when several glass bottles were thrown at officers. A civilian in the crowd was assaulted, as was a member of the media, whose camera was stolen, Davis said. On Thursday, police use chemical agents to disperse the crowd and protect officers, as glass bottles, rocks and bricks were thrown at them.

Several major intersections were shut down Thursday, and 911 calls came in with details that protesters were stopping cars, jumping on top of them and breaking windows. Businesses closed and schools were dismissed early, Davis said.

Dr. Andre Branch, president of the San Diego branch of the NAACP, applauded the mayor, police chief and district attorney's office for releasing videos of the shooting, saying that it is an action that should follow after all police-involved shootings.

Federal officials had tried twice to deport Olango, a refugee from Uganda -- once in 2002 after he was convicted for transporting and selling narcotics, and again in 2009 after he served prison time for a firearms charge conviction in Colorado, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Olango had not reported to the agency as required since February 2015.

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