Sep 28

California Police Shoot Unarmed Black Man Behaving “Erratically” In Southern California:

Crowds gathered after an unarmed black man who was “behaving erratically” died after being shot by a police officer in El Cajon in southern California on Tuesday, the local police department said, appealing for calm.

The death comes less than two weeks after black men in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were shot dead by police, sparking protests. In Charlotte, rioting prompted the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

As Reuters reports, EL Cajon Police Department spokesman Rob Ransweiler told reporters that two officers responded to a call about an “erratic subject” who was claimed to be walking into traffic. The man refused their instructions to remove his hand from his pocket and then pulled out an object from his pants and pointed it at them, the department said in a statement. The officers then simultaneously shot and Tasered the man who died after being taken to hospital, the department said.

A woman on the scene who claimed to be his sister is saying that she was the one who called the police, because her brother needed medical attention, NBC-owned local channel KNSD reported. A witness who lives nearby told KNSD that he saw police officers surround a black man with their guns drawn. He described the man as seeming fearful and lurching to the side with his hands up before being shot five times by the police. A second witness claimed to have seen the same thing.

However, an employee at the restaurant of the parking lot where the confrontation took place claimed to have recorded the entire incident. Her manager told KNSD that she had seen the video and heard police instruct the victim to remove his hands from his hip. It is not known whether his hands were in his pockets, pants or just on his hip. The video allegedly also showed the victim’s sister pleading for her brother to cooperate. Police have viewed the video and interviewed the employee.

An additional witness was recorded in a Facebook Live video saying that the sister was pleading with her brother to take his hands out of his pockets and when he did, “he did have something in his hand but it wasn’t a gun.”

Statements made by the sister to reporters also imply that her brother was not showing his hands. His sister was recorded crying “He’s so sick” in a Facebook Live video posted by another woman on the scene.

During a news conference hours after the shooting, El Cajon Police Department Jeff Davis said no weapon was found on the scene. He did not say what exactly the man pointed at the unidentified officers.

The man, who was later identified as Alfred Olango, was hospitalized and left in a critical condition, according to Fox-affiliate KSWB. However his sister told reporters that her brother died at the scene. The American Civil Liberties Union later confirmed the man died, but did not specify where and when.

Other videos show her asking police, “Why couldn’t you guys tase him? Why, why, why? I told you he’s sick.”

“I called you to help me but you killed my brother,” she also said.

It remains unknown whether the man was armed. When Ransweiler was questioned about it, he told KNSD, “I have the information, I’m just not…It’s an ongoing investigation, so I’m not releasing details of the investigation.”

The shooting is not the only El Cajon police action under scrutiny. Employees at the nearby Los Panchos restaurant claimed that police confiscated cell phones from employees and advised them to not talk to anyone about the shooting.

The ACLU has released a statement saying, “there are disturbing reports from a number of witnesses that police officers confiscated cell phones from people who witnessed the shooting. Confiscating cell phones is a violation of the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable seizure without warrant or exigent circumstance) and the First Amendment (interference with the right to record in public) under the U.S. Constitution and analogous rights under the California Constitution.”

El Cajon Police have denied confiscating cellphones and urged the community to “please be careful about reacting to inaccurate information.”

Many people claim that the man was having or had recently had a seizure when he was shot. While there has been no official statement on his health or condition at the time of the shooting, confusion and unresponsiveness can occur after a grand mal seizure.

“Now is a time for calm,” Davis said at the news conference. “I implore the community to be patient with us, work with us, look at the facts at hand before making any judgment.”

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