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Unrest continues for fourth night, prompting business closures

By Miriam Raftery

Warning:  Graphic content in video

September 30, 2016 (El Cajon)—At a press conference in El Cajon this afternoon, authorities released two videos  in the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango, 38, by police.  The first is surveillance video from a taco shop; the second is cell phone video taken by a witness.

Video  shows Officers Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniel approaching Olango, who backs away, then paces back and forth, before McDaniel fires a taser stun gun and Gonsalves fires four gunshots at close range. Police previously released a still photo showing Gonsalves in what appeared to be a shooter’s stance, after pulling an object out of his pocket and aiming at an officer.  That object was later determined to be a silver vaping pen.

El Cajon police Chief Jeff Davis said the decision to release the video of Tuesday's fatal officer-involved shooting was made to counter "misinformation'' that was being spread by people who haven't been identified as witnesses. He said the misinformation was "misleading and had the potential'' to spark unrest.

Olango’s family had called 911 three times reporting that Olango was acting erratically after learning of a friend’s death.  A Psychiatric Evaluation Response Team trained to accompany officers on calls involving a mental health crisis were not available due to another call, police have previously indicated.

The death has raised questions over the city’s ability to handle mental health crises and also sparked racial tensions. Olango, a black African immigrant from Uganda, was shot by a Hispanic officer.  Olango had an extensive criminal record, however ECPD has indicated the officers were unaware of his record before the fatal shooting.

Olango’s family voiced disappointment that the video was released without first speaking with family or giving them the option to view it, though they have previously indicated they believed it should be released.

The killing has sparked prayer vigils and protests. While most marchers were peaceful,  last night a group began breaking car windows, blocking traffic and pulled a rider off a motorcycle, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly and use tear gas to disperse the crowd, arresting two people. There have also been hostilities directed at protesters;  an employee at the El Cajon courthouse told  ECM she heard many racial insults directed at demonstrators.

El Cajon merchants downtown have been advised to close down through Sunday.  Many have complied, including one that nailed up plywood to protect against vandalism. But others have chosen to stay open. 

Tonight police sent a message on Twitter advising the public to avoid Broadway and Second Street, where a large crowd has gathered on this third night of  civil unrest across the city. 

Demonstrations are planned by several groups tomorrow in El Cajon and San Diego,  ECM has learned. The Reverend Al Sharpton will reportedly be in town.


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