Police released videos Friday showing an officer fatally shooting Alfred Olango, an unarmed black man, in El Cajon, California.
The videos — one from a cell phone, and another from a surveillance camera at a nearby taco shop — show the encounter between Olango and police from a distance. Officials released them in what they said was an effort to prevent “misinformation,” but critics say the videos do not clarify what led to the shooting.
“We didn’t want to waste time,” El Cajon Chief of Police Jeff Davis said at a news conference on Friday. “At the end of the day, it was important to put this out to the community.”
The video shows Olango moving back and forth in a parking lot. An officer walks toward Olango, and the two weave across the parking lot together several times as a second officer arrives. Then, an officer discharges his weapon and four shots are heard as Olango falls to the ground.
El Cajon police said in a statement on Tuesday that they responded to a report of a man who was “not acting like himself” and walking through traffic. Olango’s sister told police that he was unarmed and mentally ill, The New York Times reported.
According to the police statement, Olango refused an officer’s orders to remove his hand from his pocket, prompting the officer to draw his gun. Another officer then arrived with a Taser. The first officer discharged his weapon after “the subject 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,” the statement said.
Police officers Richard Gonsalves, who shot Olango, and Josh McDaniels, who fired his Taser, are on administrative leave.
The shooting led to protests in El Cajon, which is located approximately 13 miles from San Diego. Protests continued on Friday night after the videos were released and a march was planned for Saturday.
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In August, San Diego County officials released a policy meant to govern the release of videos that show officer-involved shootings. It states that law enforcement will share those videos “whenever possible, as soon as it’s appropriate to do so.”
The policy has exceptions: videos will not be released “until the district attorney has reviewed the shooting and presented its findings to the law enforcement agency involved,” or if criminal charges have been filed, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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