Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Man In San Diego Suburb
An unarmed black man acting "erratically," according to police, was fatally shot by officers Tuesday afternoon in a San Diego suburb, sparking protests. Police report that the man was shot after he pointed an object at the officers, according to The New York Times. The man is believed to have been mentally ill.
Police in El Cajon, a town 15 northeast miles northeast of San Diego, responded to reports of a man walking in traffic and "not acting like himself" around 2 p.m.
El Cajon Police Lt. Rob Ransweiler told CNN that the man failed to comply with the directives given by officers after they confronted him, and that he kept his concealed hands in his pockets while pacing back and forth. One of the two responding officers drew their weapon and pointed it at the man because of his non-compliance, "while continuing to give him instructions to remove his hand from his pocket," according to a statement from the department.
As the other responding officer prepared to deploy a Taser as a less lethal option, the man rapidly withdrew something from his pocket and pointed it at the officers. El Cajon Police Jeff Davis told the L.A. Times that the man "drew an object from his front pants pockets, placed both hands together on it and extended toward the officers."
According to the L.A. Times, one officer fired his Taser while the other fired rounds from a handgun. The El Cajon Police Department's statement says the officers provided first aid on the scene until medics arrived and transported the man to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.
In their statement, the police say that a witness voluntarily came forward with a video that they say confirms their description of the events. The New York Times, however, reports that some witnesses told local reporters that the man had had his hands up in the air. The department has released a still from the video (see above), but has declined to release the entire video as the investigation is ongoing.
In a YouTube video shot by another witness just after the incident and shared by the L.A. Times in a story this morning, the man's sister is seen screaming and weeping as she tells police that her brother was mentally ill, and that she had called for police to help him. "I called for help. I didn't call you guys to kill him," she is heard telling the officers.
Later, she can be heard asking "Why couldn't you guys Taze him?" and crying out "why, why why," again and again. "I told you he's sick."
According to the L.A. Times, relatives and protesters have identified the man killed as Alfred Olango, 30, though police have yet to confirm his name.
The shooting prompted protests and a prayer vigil yesterday afternoon and last night, according to the Washington Post.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that about one hundred protesters gathered outside of El Cajon police headquarters demanding that the video and the 9-1-1 calls be released early Wednesday morning.