Shooting Protest

Alfred Okwera Olango, 38, was shot and killed by an officer with the El Cajon Police Department on the afternoon of September 27th. According to ABC news, “when police arrived, Olango allegedly refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from his pocket.” Police on the scene stated “At one point, Olango rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together and extended them rapidly toward the officer, taking up what appeared to be a shooting stance.” At that time, one officer used his taser and another fired his gun several times, striking Olango.

Protests began soon after the shooting took place in El Cajon, beginning peacefully until late afternoon on Wednesday, September 28, when several glass bottles were thrown at officers. “A civilian in the crowd was assaulted, as was a member of the media, whose camera was stolen,” Officer Davis said. On Thursday, glass bottles, rocks and bricks were thrown at the officers, causing the police to use chemical agents to disperse the crowd.

These protesters blocked many streets in El Cajon for several nights. This caused many people to be angry at the protesters because they could not get to work or school. A larger-scale protest was planned to block the 67, but they were unsuccessful in their attempts. Police blocked off highway exits that led to the protests, to avoid additional congestion and more tempestuousness.

Police said in an update published by Twitter that one witness voluntarily stepped forward to offer a cell phone video they had recorded during the incident. No one was ever instructed to hand over cell phones in the aftermath, according to police.

According to KPBS, Olango was a refugee from Uganda who had a part-time job in a furniture store. He had a history of run-ins with the police, with convictions for selling cocaine, receiving stolen property and drunken driving, and had served time in federal prison for possessing a gun as a felon. He also was deported twice, and had returned since then.

The defense attorney representing Olango’s family explained that Olango was a loving father who was having an emotional breakdown after his best friend’s death. When Olango was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego after the shooting, various medias reported, but the hospital said they could not give out any information.

This is the third police-involved shooting of a black man that has grabbed national attention recently. Earlier shootings of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte have spurred emotional protests also.

Due to these shootings, people are questioning the training police officers receive in regards to deadly force, as well as the right of the police to shoot suspects. Several additional protests were planned in neighborhoods around the country in response to this question. Others stand with the police officers, saying that they had every right to shoot since he entered a shooting position. Ultimately, people are still undecided on how they feel about the issue of police shootings.

By: Serena Krivitz

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