The police-involved shooting of a mentally ill Black man on Tuesday night has the San Diego community in an uproar.
In an all-too-familiar narrative, El Cajon police officers claimed 30-year-old Alfred Olango was “acting erratically” and failed to comply with officers’ instructions to remove his hands from his pockets during a confrontation outside of a restaurant at the Broadway Village Shopping Center, according to USA Today.
Police say Olango then removed an unidentified object from his pocket, gripped it with both hands and took a “shooting stance” while pointing it at the officers, prompting one officer to open fire.
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A woman who identified herself as the sister of the man who was shot by police told witnesses it was her 911 call for help for her brother that summoned officers to the scene. In a Facebook Live video posted by user Rumbie Mubaiwa, the woman is seen distraught and crying out loudly just as an ambulance arrives to transport Olango to the hospital.
“I called you guys to come help, not to come kill my brother,” she says, in between sobs.
Shortly after the incident, nearly 200 community members gathered to mourn Olango’s death and protest the shooting, calling for an end to police brutality.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis addressed reporters at a news conference shortly after the shooting, where he corroborated the officers’ accounts of the moments leading up to the shooting. Chief Davis also revealed additional details about the incident, noting that one officer attempted to subdue Olango with his taser at the same time that the other officer opened fire, striking Olango. He was treated on the scene and later taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Although Davis did not confirm what the object was that police claim Olango pointed at them, he did acknowledge that it was not a weapon.
One woman who was working at drive-thru close to where the shooting occurred has turned over cell phone footage of the confrontation to police. No body cam footage is available, as the San Diego police department is still working on implementing a program requiring officers to wear body cameras.