Society

California Cops Kill Unarmed Mentally Ill Black Man

| by Michael Allen
Alfred Olango and El Cajon police officersAlfred Olango and El Cajon police officers

An unarmed mentally ill black man, Alfred Olango, was shot and killed by police at a shopping center in El Cajon, California, on Sept. 27.

Police told KNSD that Olango acted erratically and refused to obey their orders before he was killed.

Dozens of police officers were called to the shopping center where Olango was confronted.

A worker at the Los Panchos restaurant voluntarily gave the police her cell phone with a video of the shooting, which the police have not released.

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Police confiscated all cell phones from restaurant workers after the fatal shooting and instructed them not to speak to anyone, an employee named Maria told the news station.

"I didn’t hear any command 'Halt,' 'Stop' or 'I'll shoot,'" a witness, who identified himself as George, said. "I didn't hear any command or yelling. I didn't hear the man say anything. Next thing I see 'Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow' -- five shots."

El Cajon Police spokesman Rob Ransweiler said the officers were responding to a call about a 30-year-old "erratic subject."

A woman, identified as Olango's sister, was filmed by witness Rumbie Mubaiwa, wailing and saying: "I called for help; I didn’t call for you guys to kill him!"

Michael Ray Rodriguez told KNSD that Olango did not have a shirt on, had his arms up and out, was boxed in by police, ran to the right and was shot by the police.

The El Cajon Police Department told the press that the police were responding to a "5150" call, reports The Root.

The news site notes that a "5150" call is "[w]hen a person, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled, a peace officer ... may with probable cause take the person into custody and place him or her in a facility for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation."

Police reportedly confirmed that the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was not brought to the scene.

The Root reports that some witnesses said that Olango was suffering a seizure or some kind of medical/mental emergency.

Olango’s sister said that she was the one who called 911 because of her brother's mental and/or physical distress.

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis confirmed on Sept. 27 that Olango did not have a gun, but the department did release an image to "prove" that the unarmed man was a threat.

Olango's sister said her brother died at the scene, but authorities said he was taken to a hospital.

Sources: KNSD, The Root / Photo credit: El Cajon Police Department via The Root

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