SAN DIEGO -- Emotional community leaders demanded a transparent investigation Wednesday into the fatal police shooting of a black man in El Cajon.
Protesters gathered Wednesday morning at El Cajon Police headquarters at 100 Civic Center Way to bring attention to the killing of Alfred Olango, who was shot dead by two officers Tuesday afternoon. And they weren't shy about voicing their opinions.
"They were too late in ordering the cameras that they need to have in their cars and on their uniforms," said Rev. Shane Harris, National Action Network San Diego Chapter, referring to the fact that El Cajon police officers do not wear body cameras.
"We do not trust local prosecutors to investigate local police," Harris added.
A few hours later, just after 11:30 a.m., dozens of protesters began an impromptu march from police headquarters to the scene of the shooting.
At one point during the march, protesters gathered at a Kia dealership in the 500 block of N. Johnson Avenue. A number of officers lined the dealership's driveway.
On Tuesday night, authorities chose not to clear the hundreds of protesters who gathered at the scene of the fatal shooting. A handful of officers in riot gear -- some with barking police dogs -- formed a line, appearing ready to disperse the crowd at a strip mall parking lot in the 800 block of Broadway. But the officers were vastly outnumbered by the large and vocal crowd, which included people of all races and ages.
The officers stood in a line for about 10 minutes. Then, they retreated to their cars, which were parked in the alley. As officers drove off, a few protesters spat on patrol cars and yelled obscenities at them.
“There’s people all over the United States that are hurting right now,” one pastor said while leading a prayer circle.
“If you have some people not within the race, or close to the race, you would think that ‘oh, no, they are just acting out,’” protester Dion Kelley said. “No, that’s the frustration. That’s the anger. Because it’s our brothers and sisters that are getting gunned down.”
After police left, the protesters dispersed on their own.
"No matter what you believed happened, no matter what you think happened, is that you pray for our city and our county,” said Miles McPherson, pastor of Rock Church, at an El Cajon police news conference.
“That what we see happening around the country: innocent people being shot and protesters being shot; we don't want that to happen here. So I pray that we be peaceful and let the process take its place and let the truth come out,” said McPherson.
Tuesday's incident began to unfold at 2:10 p.m. when officers responded to a report of a pedestrian behaving erratically and walking in traffic along Broadway near the Broadway Shopping Village. They came into contact with the man behind a restaurant and he allegedly refused multiple commands to remove his hand from in his
pocket, said El Cajon police Capt. Frank LaHaye.
"Because the subject did not comply, the officer drew his firearm and pointed it at the subject while continuing to give him instructions to remove his hand from his pocket," LaHaye said in a statement.
The officers attempted to talk to the man while he paced back and forth, but he then "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," according to the lieutenant.
One officer fired his service weapon at the man several times and a second officer deployed a Taser. Bystanders reported hearing about five shots.
Olango was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
The officers, each with more than 20 years of service, will be placed on administrative leave for at least three days, as per protocol, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters at a news conference Tuesday night. He promised a thorough and transparent multi-agency investigation.
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The family of Olango has retained high profile attorney, Dan Gilleon. He issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"With the family in shock from yesterday's shooting, the last thing they wanted to do was hire an attorney to defend a case being litigated against their son in the media. However, given ECPD's release of a single, cherry picked image from a video they refuse to release, we must respond.
"Officer Richard Gonsalves should not have even been wearing a badge yesterday, much less allowed to confront a person clearly in need of a PERT intervention. When a sergeant sends a photo of his penis to a female subordinate, he should be fired.
"ECPD is now circling the wagons to defend Gonsalves' decision to pull the trigger just like they circled the wagons to defend his sexually harassment of a fellow cop. The fact they are doing so in the media to taint the jury pool is nothing less than despicable emotional abuse of a grieving family."