Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of El Cajon Wednesday, September 28th, in protest of the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango by police Tuesday afternoon. And on several occasions, the non-violent demonstrators faced off with helmeted police, as night fell and tensions mounted. This is my accounting of the protest that swept through the suburb of San Diego over a 7 hour period.
I had returned home a couple of hours earlier from a press conference and rally in front of the El Cajon Police station Wednesday morning, when I was shocked to see live-stream video on CBS8 of the protests that had continued – unbeknownst to me, as it had not been announced earlier.
Apparently, after the rally at the PD headquarters, at least a hundred demonstrators had walked back to the site of Olango’s shooting, at Los Panchos taco shop on Broadway, and over the course of the next couple of hours had managed to block several different intersections along Broadway.
Grabbing my gear, I once again set out for El Cajon – a city once known decades ago as a red-neck town.
Arriving in downtown, I drove around looking for the demonstrators, but couldn’t find them. I asked a couple on a sidewalk and they told me they were up at the trolley station. Wow, I thought, if the protesters couldn’t block a freeway, maybe the trolley was seen as another target. So, I peeled on up to the Trolley area. Every now and then, I’d see bunches of police officers – County sheriffs with helmets at the ready over here, Highway Patrol officers standing by their parked motorcycles, over there.
They were all on stand-by, ready for action. I’d never seen so many cops in El Cajon before.