Who was the unarmed black man killed by El Cajon police? He reportedly suffered from mental illness
On Tuesday afternoon in a suburb northeast of San Diego, El Cajon police officers responded to a call reporting an African-American man in his 30s behaving “erratically” outside of a restaurant. Upon arriving on the scene, police claim the man kept his hands hidden, and then “rapidly drew an object,” placing both hands on it “like you would be holding a firearm” and stood in a “shooting stance,” according to a El Cajon police report. But who was the black man killed by El Cajon police?
The man was recently identified by relatives and protesters as Alfred Olango, and his sister was heard yelling throughout videos of the incident, describing him as “sick,” potentially referring to his mental state. Olango’s sister, visibly and audibly distraught, yelled to police, “You guys killed my brother in front of me! Why couldn’t you guys tase him? Why? Why? Why? Why?” El Cajon police have repeatedly iterated that the victim had not raised his hands in the air and appeared poised in “a shooting stance.” However, reports claim he was unarmed.
Still, CBS 8 reported that witnesses alleged the officers were “unduly quick to open fire” and suggested the cops’ actions were “influenced by the fact that they were dealing with a black man,” who was described as mentally challenged.
If the man identified as Olango was mentally incapacitated, as his family and witnesses allege, it’s likely he simply did not understand how to safely behave around armed police. The police have yet to confirm the victim’s identity or any mental illness.
A Facebook page for Olango identifies him as a head cook at a Hooters restaurant and a former student of San Diego High School and San Diego Mesa College.
One video of events was filmed and posted via Facebook Live by Rumbie Mubaiwa, but El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis announced El Cajon police would not release video footage collected from witnesses and local businesses until after review by the district attorney. According to Davis, all witness videos “so far coincide with the officers’ statements.”
Just hours after the shooting, the city of San Diego became the scene of numerous large protests, as residents were upset by the alleged racial motivations behind the shooting. After all, this shooting in El Cajon comes just days after the shooting of Keith Scott, an unarmed African-American man, in North Carolina.
An El Cajon police officer has yet to be charged with killing Olango.