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Demonstrations continue Saturday after fatal shooting of Alfred Olango

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EL CAJON, Calif. -- Civil rights groups and leaders of faith-based community organizations gathered in El Cajon Saturday morning for a rally and march to protest the fatal police shooting of Ugandan immigrant Alfred Olango during a confrontation at a strip mall near Parkway Plaza earlier this week.

Supporters of Olango held signs that read “I'm Alfred Olango,'' “Not one more,'' “Black lives matter,'' and other slogans as they gathered in Prescott Promenade Park on Main Street to hear from several speakers, including Bishop George McKinney of St. Stephen's Cathedral Church of God in Christ in San Diego.

“Today we are saddened, we're troubled, because of what continues to be a trend seemingly in America, and it is time for immediate and urgent action on behalf of these who suffer in our cities,'' McKinney said. “We are here to advocate that justice will be done. We're here to advocate that it's time now for some radical and profound changes to take place.


“Isn't it a tragedy that those who are supposed to preserve and protect, are now being feared by young black boys and girls because of this tendency, this tragedy of killing, assassinating, destroying the life of those who are unarmed, because of some preconceived philosophy and notion that maybe black lives don't matter?'' he said.

After the rally, the crowd marched to Centennial Plaza in front of El Cajon Police headquarters a few blocks away. As the protestors marched, some locked arm-in-arm, they chanted “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.''

Once at the Centennial Plaza, the crowd heard more speeches and a plea for financial help for funeral expenses for Olango. Some businesses in the vicinity of the rally and march closed for the day, while others remained open.

Saturday's protest comes a day after El Cajon Police released two videos of the shooting. Each was recorded in a taco shop parking lot in the 800 block of Broadway on Tuesday afternoon -- one by a surveillance camera next to a drive-through window, the other by a witness who recorded it on her cell phone.

The snippets show Officers Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniel approaching Olango, seen striding through a parking area and then pacing back and forth next to a parked pickup truck. Following a brief face-off, gunshots sound, and Olango collapses to the pavement.

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis confirmed that Gonsalves fired his service gun at Olango as McDaniel simultaneously shot him with an electric stun gun. Both officers have 21 years of law enforcement experience and were placed on administrative leave per department protocol.

The events that led to the fatal confrontation began when patrol personnel were dispatched to investigate three emergency calls from Olango's sister reporting that he was behaving erratically and walking into traffic in a commercial district a few blocks north of El Cajon Valley High School.

Police said that Olango was uncooperative, repeatedly refused to remove his hand from his pocket, assumed “what appeared to be a shooting stance'' and pointed at Gonsalves an object that turned out to be an electronic smoking device that resembled the barrel of a gun.

The Center for Law and Social Justice at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego Saturday expressed grave concerns about the shooting.

“We hope that Mr. Olango's death can serve as a wake-up call to the community about the troubling pervasiveness of violence against African-Americans," said Kaimipono Wenger, associate professor of law and the center's director. “It is past time for America to truly realize that black lives matter."

Two additional events were planned for this afternoon in downtown San Diego, including a march to police headquarters on Broadway that was organized by a group calling itself “Black and Blue United,'' and a march to the Hall of Justice by the group “Power to the People.''

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