El Cajon Police Department releases Alfred Olango shooting footage

© Patrick Fallon
Footage of the shooting of Alfred Olango by police in a suburb of San Diego has been released by the El Cajon Police Department. Prior to this, the only evidence released had been a still from the video .

One video is a surveillance tape from the drive-thru of the restaurant. It shows Olango walking in the parking lot, moving quickly and pacing back and forth while officer Gonsalves remains close and pursues him.

A customer also took a video with their phone that shows Olango being shot multiple times.

The department showed the actual vape pen as an example and zoomed in on the opening of the vape to show how it looked pointed at the officers.

The Tuesday shooting of 38-year-old Alfred Olango by El Cajon police sparked increasingly tense protests that turned violent on Thursday. The department was accused of initially withholding information, such as waiting a day before confirming that the man killed by police was Alfred Olango.

Davis told reporters that the family had chosen not to watch the video earlier in the day, and were therefore yet to see the video. “The importance of releasing this information really created the timeline to do this as quickly as possible,” he said.

He would not say exactly how much time he had given the family to see the tape and said that the priority was releasing it publicly.

Both Davis and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis reminded the media that the investigation is still ongoing.

A reporter asked about officer Gonsalves’ approached Olango with a weapon in his hand and if that was standard for the department’s approach to possible mental health calls. Davis explained that there is no single procedure.

Davis was not able to comment on when, or if, the officers were returning from their paid administrative leave. In addition, he called the lawsuits against Gonsalves “conjectures.

The shooting occurred after El Cajon Police received a call about a man “acting erratically” and seeming “not like himself.” A video taken shortly after the shooting by a bystander documented Olango’s sister saying that she had called the police three times to get help for her brother, but was told he was not a priority.

I told you he’s sick!” She was recorded saying. “I called you guys for help and now you killed my brother!

The video was take at a nearby restaurant by a person who, police say, voluntarily handed over her phone. On Thursday, Olango’s family held a press conference to both demand the release of the video as well as shed light on Olango’s mental health.

Benge, Olango’s mother, told reporters that Olango had been experiencing a breakdown after the death of his best friend. “He was not mental, he had a mental breakdown,” she said. “There’s a difference.”

Benge and her family moved to the US as refugees fleeing threats from Uganda’s government. She pleaded for peaceful protests, saying “If you have ever seen war, you would never, ever step near it,” she said.

San Diego Police Chief Davis prefaced the release of the video with a statement that all facts were preliminary. He also said the decision to release the video “was not made in a vacuum.” The release was spurred by misinformation spread by people who were on the scene but did not witness the actual shooting. He explained that the release of the video was being done as a community safety concern as he described the increasing intensity of the protests.

This was done in the spirit of community calm and peace,” Davis said.

At a press conference on Tuesday night, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters that the video could not be released as it was in the possession of the district attorney and a piece of evidence in an on-going investigation. He did, however, release a still image of Olango right before being shot. He was pictured standing in a shooting position with both hands on an unknown device.

On Wednesday it was revealed that he was holding a cylindrical vape pen. In addition, the name of the officer who shot him was also released. News that the officer in question had been demoted from a sergeant position after multiple sexual harassment suits led many to believe that he should not have had his job in the first place.

The city of El Cajon and Downtown El Cajon Business Partners have advised businesses in the district to close before the 2:00pm PST release of the video. In addition, schools have closed early.

The police have also barred non-media from participating in the press conference.

Police have confirmed that Olango's shooting occurred within one minute of their arrival.