Target: Jeff Davis, El Cajon Police Chief
Goal: Prioritize implementation of program requiring officers to wear body cameras.
Alfred Olango, an unarmed black man, was allegedly shot by police in a San Diego suburb after assuming what officers referred to as a “shooting stance.” A woman working at a drive-thru captured the incident on video, which she then voluntarily turned over to the police department. Although it is policy that the video must be released to the public, it is unclear when that will happen. The department is said to be working on a program to have all officers wear cameras, but none have yet been issued.
Officers responded to a call about a man walking into traffic. The man, Olango, took something out of his front pocket and lifted it up; officers did not say what the object was, although they did acknowledge that it was not a weapon, and it was later identified as a vape smoking device. One officer discharged his Taser in order to subdue what he perceived to be a threat as another officer shot and killed Olango.
Video available to the public shows the aftermath of the scene, and a crying woman who identifies herself as Olango’s sister saying, “I called for help, I didn’t call for you guys to kill him. Oh my God, you killed my brother!” Alfred Olango was mentally ill and suffering from a mental break, not aggressive, hostile, or threatening.
Police brutality resulting in unnecessary deaths, especially of black men, has been running rampant as more officers shoot first and ask questions later. If all of these scenes are caught on camera, officers can be held accountable for their actions and hopefully have that much more motivation to subdue without killing or even using their firearms. Sign below and demand that police be required to wear body cameras.
Dear Chief Davis,
The killing of Alfred Olango in El Cajon was unjustified and uncalled for. Officers were called in to help, as Olango was suffering from mental illness, and they reportedly shot and killed him for pulling a vape smoking device from his pocket. Olango was unarmed, and he did not need to be shot to be subdued. Incidents like these have become all too common, and they call for transparency and officers taking responsibility for their actions. The best way to ensure this is by requiring all officers to wear body cameras. This must become a priority.
Olango’s death followed him walking into traffic, and taking what officers called “a shooting stance.” According to video of the aftermath of the incident, a woman who identified herself as his sister said she had called the police to try and help him, and that she feared they would kill him for not taking his hands out of his pockets. The only video taken of the event itself has not yet been released to the public, even though policy dictates that it must be eventually.
Video is the most reliable way to determine how events transpired, to ensure accountability, and to remind those with deadly weapons to use them with the extreme care and caution they warrant. Especially when race is involved, far too many unnecessary killings have occurred. According to reports, your department is developing a program to have officers wear body cameras, though none have been distributed yet. I urge you to make this program a priority and provide officers with the required cameras as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: West Midlands Police