By Joshua Adamson |Staff Writer|
Protests erupted in El Cajon after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man last month.
Alfred Olango, 38, was shot and killed by police after his sister had called the police to assist in subduing her brother.
These protests in El Cajon are the latest of a series of demonstrations against recent police shootings of unarmed black men, following similar protests in other states like Louisiana and New York.
Brian Levin, director of the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, stated that hundreds of civilians have been involved in fatal interactions with police in 2016.
“So far this year over 700 civilians have been killed in interactions involving weapons discharged by police, slightly less than during the same period last year,” stated Levin.
Surveys also show that white and black individuals have different perceptions of how law enforcement treat various racial groups.
“Social surveys from PEW research, among others, indicate a deep racial divide with white respondents believing that police treat residents of different races equally by a two to one margin when compared to African-American respondents,” stated Levin.
Nearly 200 protesters gathered in El Cajon on Oct. 1, the fifth day of demonstrations against the Olango shooting, according to Reuters.
Such protests also followed the release of a pair of police videos of the shooting.
Demonstrators had been pushing for the release of those videos, which were made public one day before the Saturday protests.
According to Reuters, the demonstrations against the shooting have generally been nonviolent, though on Thursday authorities deployed pepper spray and arrested two men for unlawful assembly.
The men arrested, had allegedly obstructed traffic and ruptured car windows.
Protesters have been pushing for a federal investigation into the shooting since its occurrence on Sept. 27.
According to the LA Times, Olango was holding a vape smoking device, when the two officers encountered him at the back of a restaurant shortly after 2 p.m.
Police Chief, Jeff Davis, said Olango ignored directions from one officer and placed his hand in the pockets, before pointing his vape device at the face of the second officer, according to The LA Times.
At that point, the other officer fired a Taser at Olango, while the officer who had had the vape device pointed at him discharged his gun, which hit Olango.
The incident was captured by an observer’s video, which was later posted to Youtube and includes shouts and rebukes from Olango’s sister.
The LA Times quoted the video, in which Olango’s sister is heard repeatedly shouting “Oh, my God, you killed my brother!”
CSUSB students described their reactions to the protests.
“People go and protest because police are being unfair,” stated senior Marlen Covarrubias.
“Within these protests sometimes others get hurt by police, or even other protesters,” added Covarrubias.
Junior Shoshana Rand was similarly upset with how the police handled the Olango shooting.
“The shooting itself upsets me,” stated Rand.
“It is sad that so often innocent people are dying because police are not being thorough when investigating their surroundings in dangerous situations, and they immediately just kill people,” added Rand.