A San Diego-area officer shot and killed a man who witnesses say was mentally challenged and unarmed, making him the latest victim in an unsettling series of black people killed by police.
According to the NY Daily News, Gunfire rang out around 2 p.m. local time in a parking lot at the Broadway Village Shopping Center in El Cajon, California, after police received multiple calls about a man who was “not acting like himself,” Police Chief Jeff Davis told the Daily News in a statement.
The first responding officer arrived to find a black male in his 30s frantically pacing back and forth, “not only endangering himself, but motorists,” Davis said.
The officer ordered the man to remove his hand from his front pants pocket, but the man did not comply, so the officer drew his firearm.
A second officer arrived and prepared to stun the man with a Taser. As the taser was being prepared, the man pulled out an object from his pocket, placed his hands together and took “what appeared to be a shooting stance,” Davis said.
Both officers discharged their weapons simultaneously, fatally hitting the man with several bullets as well as a high-voltage Taser shock. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead Tuesday evening.
Police released picture that shows the victim with his hands locked together as two officers surround him with their weapons drawn. Davis said the picture is taken from cellphone footage recorded by a bystander.
“That was the only phone provided to officers in this investigation,” Davis said.
Police declined to identify the item pulled from the man’s pocket, but they did say no weapons were retrieved from the scene.
Several eyewitnesses said the victim had his hands above his head when he was shot, but police spokesman Rob Ransweiler disputed those accounts, adding he was “confident that the community will support the decision made by the officer.”
“The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air,” the police department said on Twitter late Tuesday.
Several dozen protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting and outside the police headquarters late Tuesday. Many cursed at officers at the scene and video showed several people at one point pushing through police tape.
Police had not released the victim’s name by early Wednesday, but a family friend identified the dead man as 30-year-old Alfred Olango.
“(The family) is in shock, in pain, hurting to lose a loved one like anyone else would,” Rumbie Mubaiwa told The News.
Mubaiwa, who was at the scene of the shooting, started a Facebook live broadcast mere minutes after Olango was shot.
Mubaiwa said Olango’s sister, who can be seen in the video wearing a nurse’s uniform, made the original 911 calls.
“OK, so the police did it again, y’all,” Mubaiwa says in the video. “They shot another unarmed black person, as usual. And the lady is saying she called them for help, not to kill her brother, and they shot her brother.”
“I called for help, I didn’t call for you guys to kill him!” she screams in the video. “Oh my God, you killed my brother!”
Mubaiwa said Olango had “supposedly” taken something out of his pocket before the officers shot him.
“Why couldn’t you guys Tase him? Why, why, why, why?” the sister wails. “Why couldn’t you Tase him? I told them he’s sick.”
“(The officer) let go of the trigger and shot him again and again,” Michael Ray Rodriguez told the local paper, adding he heard about five shots.
The San Diego ACLU chapter said it’s too early to condemn the officer who opened fire, but blasted the El Cajon police department for confiscating an eyewitness’ cellphone. Although the police department said the phone was voluntarily given to them.
“By seizing phones, police would likely be preventing the dissemination of video captured by bystanders,” the organization said in a statement. “The public has the right to film police in public places, and police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or video without a warrant.”
The picture supplied by the police does show Olango in a “shooting stance”, but it also shows 2 cops close enough to be able to see what he is holding. Police also admit there was no weapon retrieved from the scene. If police do not know what a gun looks like, maybe they should not be officers!
(Article by Jeremiah Jones)