San Diego Cop Who Shot And Killed A Black Man Who Was Holding An E-Cigarette Will Not Face Charges For The Death.
A police officer will not face charges for killing an unstable black man who was holding an e-cigarette when he was shot dead last year.
San Diego police officer Richard Gonsalves will not face criminal charges because he used reasonable force in the death of Alfred Olango, an attorney said on Tuesday.
Gonsalves had reason to believe he was in danger when Olango, 38, pointed what the officer thought was a weapon towards him but was actually an e-cigarette, a prosecutor said.
Olango, a Uganda refugee, was shot on September 27, 2016, in a El Cajon, California, after police received 911 calls saying he was acting erratically and walking in traffic.
The victim’s sister had described Olango as unbalanced in multiple 911 calls and asked that he be taken to a mental health facility.
Officers were also told Olango did not have a weapon on him when they were called.
He had repeatedly refused demands by an officer and pleas by his sister to take his hand out of his pocket, according to attorneys.
When he finally did, videos released by authorities showed him in a shooting stance, with both hands around an object that turned out to be a bulky vaping device.
Olango extended both arms ‘simulating the firing of a weapon directly at the officer,’ who ducked and fired four shots, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.
Officers, one armed with a Taser, both fired within a minute of confronting Olango.
The footage, which was released by the Ej Cajon Police Department, showed Olango walking near a takeaway taco shop.
Two police officers can be seen approaching him in the short clips, and after a brief standoff he was shot dead.
The cellphone footage, which was filmed by a person working in the drive-through window of the taco store, has audio unlike the surveillance video.
In it, a woman can be heard pleading with police, ‘officer, don’t shot him’, at the start.
One of the officer’s replies to the woman, ‘ma’am, back up’, before another male voice – which could not be identified – is heard saying, ‘shut the f*** up’.
Seconds later, four shots are fired.
The woman is then heard screaming and she runs away from the scene.
His death in September prompted days of protests and his relatives filed wrongful-death claims with the city, which usually precede lawsuits. They said Olango, a native of Uganda, had a breakdown after the death of a close friend.
Olango’s father and others had said they doubted that the district attorney’s office could conduct an impartial investigation and they called for an independent probe.
The Rev. Shane Harris of the civil rights group National Action Network, who has been in regular contact with the family, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
Harris called the decision ‘a slap in the face.’
Dumanis acknowledged that the shooting had drawn international attention and protests.
‘We are living in a time where the actions of police officers are under scrutiny more than ever, especially when it comes to police shootings,’ Dumanis said.
An attorney who announced the family’s wrongful-death claim filings in November said they want to send a message that police across the nation must do better when dealing with people in mental crisis.
The El Cajon Police Department has specially trained officers to help defuse sometimes-volatile situations that involve people in the throes of mental illness. However, officials said none were available to go to the call involving Olango.
By CHEYENNE ROUNDTREE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM