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By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2016 (El Cajon) – Saturday night, El Cajon Police declared an unlawful assembly and arrested 14 people at a makeshift memorial site at 800 Broadway, where Alfred Olango was fatally shot last Tuesday by a police officer.

According to Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler, on Saturday night a vehicle was stopped for a traffic infraction leaving the protest area. The driver, who was under 21, was arrested for driving under the influence. Two passengers were also arrested for being drunk in public.  After the arrest, a small group of protesters gathered near800 Broadway.

“A fight broke out between a few of the protesters and it was reported that someone was leaving to get a gun,” Lt. Ransweiler stated in a news release. “Sensing this shift in the demeanor of the crowd and out of concern for community safety, officers declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the group to disperse. The majority of the group left at this time, however some remained. Officers spoke to those who remand and they promised to leave. “

But he continued, “Eventually, it became apparent the remaining protesters were not planning to leave. They were again notified of the unlawful assembly and ordered to disperse; however, they did not make any attempt to leave.”

Fourteen adults were arrested: 12 for a misdemeanor violation of failing to depart an unlawful assembly, 1 for an arrest warrant, and 1 for public intoxication.

The protesters told a different story, some claiming officers broke up a peaceful vigil.  Mitchell Sterling wrote on Facebook, “Brutal arrests by El Cajon thug police last night against peaceful unarmed citizens."

Jeff Pro posted video of a portion of the incident on Facebook:

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"Creating" an incident

If as Lieutenant Ransweiler stated, "a fight broke out between a few protesters, and 'it was reported' that someone was leaving to get a gun" why then, of the 14 arrested was there no one arrested for fighting? Seems there's never a shortage of 'circumstances' for the police to use in breaking up demonstrations. The police would do well to worry less about their view of "community safety" and more about trigger-happy cops' impact on the community.