Add 30-year-old Alfred Olango to the list of Black people killed by police this year. This time, the shooter is an unidentified officer with the El Cajon Police Department (ELPD), a city with a 6.3 percent Black population in San Diego County, California.
Olango was at a shopping center yesterday (September 27) when his sister called 911 because he was in mental and physical distress. “I called three times for them to come help me,” Olango’s sister says in a witness video streamed live to Facebook. “Nobody came. They said it’s not priority.” Witnesses say the unarmed man was having a seizure when he was shot and killed.
ELPD held a press conference to discuss the shooting. Watch it below, courtesy of local station KGTV.
The department also released a statement that details the officers’ version of events:
The subject refused multiple instructions by the first officer on scene to remove his concealed hand from in his pocket. Because the subject did not comply the officer drew his firearm and pointed it at the subject while continuing to give him instructions to remove his hand from his pocket.
The second responding officer arrived on scene and immediately prepared to deploy a less lethal electronic control device while the other officer covered.
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. At this time, the officer with the electronic control device discharged his weapon. Simultaneously, the officer with the firearm discharged his weapon several times, striking the subject.
Officers confirmed that Olango did not have a weapon. The Root reports that officers were informed that Olango was mentally distressed before they responded to the call. In fact, the police account of events even begins by saying that ECPD received a call about a man who was “not acting like himself.” But the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was not called.
Local station FOX5 reports that the officers were not wearing body cameras (they are not scheduled to be outfitted until 2017), but ECPD collected witness video that was shot at the scene. The video has not been released, but the department published a single frame that they feel supports their story that Olango posed a threat. The two involved officers have been put on administrative leave.
Protestors assembled both at the site of the shooting and the police station.