A trigger-happy United States police officer on Tuesday killed 38-year-old Alfred Okwera Olango, a refugee from Uganda living in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. The shooting happened after Olango’s sister called the police to help him as he was mentally unwell.
When police arrived on the scene, there was a standoff with mentally unwell Olango pulling out an e-cigarette and pointing it at the police. One police shot him with an electronic stun gun, which could have hopefully deescalated the situation, but a second officer pulled out his firearm and shot Olango several times. Olango dies on the spot.
The El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis is quoted having acknowledged that Olango had nothing that posed any threats to the officers. Davis goes further to elaborate Mr. Olango had a three inches (7.6cm) long silver e-cigarette in his hands.
A member of the Alliance San Diego civil rights group, Christopher Rice-Wilson, ask why one of the officers at the scene deemed it appropriate to use a non-lethal force on Olango. Yet, the second has to pull out his firearm and lethally shot multiple times on the mentally sick man.
The murder of Olango by the second officer sparked a protest in the street outside the El Cajon police station with protestors chanting “murder, murder” and one banner reading “no killer cops.”
One protestor Mallowry Webb told the angry crowd: “That could be my little brother. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to walk the streets every single day.”
One Agnes Hassan described Mr. Olango as a well-educated man who was struggling with mental illness. Ms. Hassan says she had spent some time with the deceased while in refugee camp an en route to the United States.
His name was #AlfredOlango
He was only 30 years old.#BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/kSbVk6NmtC
— Yukio Strachan (@boldandworthy) September 28, 2016
The report by the police department reads that the officers responded to a call about a mentally sick man walking in and out of traffic. The call was made by Olango’s sister for the police to come and de-escalate the situation.
According to El Cajon police spokesperson Lt. Rob Ransweiler, two police arrived on the scene at around 14:10 local time and Mr. Olango was shot dead about a minute later. The police report reads that the two officers were confronted by a man who despite their request refused to comply with their instructions. He then removed his hand from a pocket, and paced back and forth before quickly drawing an object from his pocket. He then placed both his hands together and extended them in a “shooting stance.”
It is reported that when the detectives arrived on the scene, the police were given a mobile phone video footage by a witness voluntarily. However, the pictures released by the authorities is only a single frame showing only Mr. Olango’s “shooting stance,” there has been no official release of the full video footage by the police.
However, other videos are surfacing on the internet showing the aftermath of the shooting. In one a woman is captured on video saying, “When he lifted his hand out … he did have something in his hand but it wasn’t no gun, and that’s when they shot him.”
Olango’s sister has also been captured on video shrieking and crying telling the police she had called them for help with her brother. “I just called for help, and you came and killed him,” she cries.
“I call you guys to come help. Not to kill my brother!”
Police fatally shot unarmed #AlfredOlango, whose sister says he was mentally ill. pic.twitter.com/2nzMT3etCJ
— Fusion (@Fusion) September 28, 2016
#AlfredOlango‘s tragic death is a sad reminder that policing in the U.S. is often seen in black and white: https://t.co/V0ZDSGFoRF
— Fusion (@Fusion) September 28, 2016
If you don’t think there is a problem, YOU are the problem. #AlfredOlango
— Grace Byers (@LadyGraceByers) September 28, 2016