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If you haven’t heard of this story, boy, you’re in for a treat. It’s been all over the news, the concern of how #blacklivesmatter and the unruly police shootings that have been happening all around the United States. People are feeling rather uptight and the tensions are extremely high.
To make matters only worse, a 38 year old Ugandan refugee (yes, a black man), was fatally shot on 27 September 2016, by Californian police in the El Cajon suburb.
What was his crime? Pulling out a vaporizer unit from his jean pocket and pointing it at one of the responding officers. This was admitted by the police themselves and backed up by the man’s family.
The victim, Alfred Okwera Olango was described by the police as holding a vaporizer device that was silver and cylindrical being approximately 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. The vaporizer was collected as evidence from the scene and are now in the custody of the police investigating this shooting.
The result of Olango’s death? The people of El Cajon were protesting through its streets demanding for videos of the incident to be released by the police, for full admission and reparations to be made to the family, for justice to be made.
Olango’s family said that he had been going through a “mental breakdown” due to the recent death of one of his closest friends. This sense of mental breakdown can be sensed through Olango’s sister who purportedly is able to be heard on the video footage taken from the scene whereby she berates the police for shooting her brother dead instead of trying alternative methods to subdue him and to calm him down.
Up to date, the El Cajon police have only made releases of a single photo of Olango which has brought up questions of whether the photo was taking a “shooting stance” as an irony of happening before Olango was shot by the police. There were two officers that were involved in the shooting, both of which are being under administrative leave whilst an investigation is carried out.
Although only one police officer fired his weapon, the other police officer was responsible for firing a taser-like device against the victim. It is unknown whether the measures taken by the police officers were accounted for as to whether Olango had provoked them to believe that they had to commit self defence as a result of his actions. The statements that are being made is how Olango refused to comply with orders made for him to remove his hands from his pocket.
In a police statement which was released on Wednesday night, the officers stated that “at one point, 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.”
“At this time, the officer with the [taser-like] electronic control device discharged his weapon. Simultaneously, the officer with the firearm discharged his weapon several times, striking the subject.”
Although the officers on scene reacted by providing first aid to Olango, his wounds were too fatal and Olango died at the hospital.
Richard Gonsalves, the officer who discharged his weapon against Olango and killed him, was the centre of an alleged sexual harassment with a female underling who sued him and the city. According to the Los Angeles Times reports that Gonsalves was accused of making unwanted and unwarranted sexual advances toward the female underling.
According to Olango’s family’s attorney, Daniel Gilleon states that Olango was shot five times and urgers for the police video of the shooting to be released for analysis to be made. According to police procedure, the attorney is of belief that the officers are trained for situations like these and the reactions that they were supposed to provide was to deescalate the situation by starting a dialogue with Olango. Further, they were trained to take cover and to ensure that the situation deescalates by talking to the subject.
El Cajon’s mayor has stated that the FBI would be joining in the investigation due to the complications and escalation of matters revolving around black lives in America.
It is a high concern and comes with a great sadness that one of our vaping enthusiasts has passed which only gives rise concern and caution to our community that all of us should be careful when vaping outside in public (where permitted given the new laws and regulations). In the event of being approached by police, be careful on your next moves as simple actions may lead to dire and unwarranted circumstances.
Let us know your thoughts about this and we look forward to having a discussion with our readers.