The meeting was held at the regional headquarters of the National Action Network in Los Angeles. The gathering to discuss criminal justice reform involved community leaders, clergy and civic leaders from throughout southern California.
Richard Olango spoke about what brought police officers to the El Cajon strip mall the day his son Alfred was killed.
“He had lost a very good friend, he was from Ethiopia, his name was Barracat. They started playing soccer when they were 9 years old,” he said.
Cell phone video released by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis shows Alfred Olango confronted by two El Cajon police officers.
Police said Alfred refused to comply with orders. When he pulled a vape smoking device out of his pocket and pointed it at officers, one of the officers fired his gun, killing Alfred.
“This is something that is egregious at best,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton said he and the National Action Network are giving full support to the Olango family. He said the video clearly raises questions about police training.
“Who chooses to shoot wound and who chooses to shoot to kill? What kind of police training is this? That’s part of this problem here,” Sharpton said.
He is also asking the Justice Department for an independent investigation.
“I’m not going to prejudge evidence but, I’m going to say independent law enforcement must look at the video,” Sharpton said. “My question though, watching the video is when do police shoot to kill and when do they shoot to wound?”
Olango said he took his family away from war-torn Africa to seek the freedom and safety of the United States. He said his son is not the only refugee to die at the hands of police and said Alfred’s death should serve as a turning point.
“In justice, not only in America it should be in the whole world, where police shoot. Instead of taking the right procedure to control a person with problems, police are meant to protect not meant to kill,” Olango said.
Sharpton said his attendance at the meeting was scheduled long ago. He said when he learned of the El Cajon shooting, he asked the Olango family to attend.