Police Release Videos Of Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man in El Cajon, Calif.

October 1, 2016

On Friday, police released two videos of Tuesday’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by officers in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, Calif. Ugandan immigrant Alfred Olango was killed after, police say, he was uncooperative and refused to remove his hand from his pocket, then took what officers saw as a threatening position.

Olango’s death led to almost immediate protests that lasted much of the week and grew progressively larger and angrier. The police say that by Thursday night two civilians had been assaulted and crowds had thrown bottles at officers.

Here’s part of the news conference at which the videos were released. Be aware the videos could be disturbing to some viewers.

NPR member station KPBS has this report of the shooting:

“Police officials countered that Olango was uncooperative, repeatedly refused to remove his hand from his pocket, assumed ‘what appeared to be a shooting stance’ and pointed an object at an officer that turned out to be an electronic smoking device.

“The events that led to the fatal confrontation began when officers were dispatched to investigate a report of a pedestrian behaving erratically and walking in traffic in a commercial district a few blocks north of El Cajon Valley High School.

“Patrol personnel contacted Olango and moments later, one of the responding officers fired his service weapon while the other deployed an electronic stun gun. According to news reports, it took officers 50 minutes to respond to the initial call.”

El Cajon Chief of Police Jeff Davis said the decision to release the videos of Tuesday’s shooting “did not exist in a vacuum.” Davis said the department broke with its policy in order to stop what he called the “misinformation that was beginning to spread.”

Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Davis said the department rushed to release the videos — one surveillance tape from a taco shop, the other from a witness cellphone at nearly the same position — in part to stem the violence.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said the FBI is involved in the ongoing investigation into the incident. The two officers, identified by officials as Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniels, have not been working since the incident. Gonsalves shot Olango while McDaniels fired a stun gun at him.

Dumanis said her office has not reached any conclusions. Dumanis told reporters at the press conference, “Video evidence is one piece of the evidence. We want every bit of the evidence.”

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.