DA Dumanis Exonerates El Cajon Police Officer Who Killed Alfred Olango

by on January 12, 2017 · 1 comment

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, Media, Politics, San Diego

Bonnie Dumanis, the District Attorney for all of San Diego County, has just exonerated the El Cajon Police officer, Richard Gonsalves, who fatally shot Alfred Olango last September.

Olango was an unarmed African-American man whose death at the hands of police sparked large protests in the streets of the east county city. One of the demonstrations included a sit-down by hundreds of protesters on Broadway in El Cajon, non-violently confronting helmeted and baton-wielding sheriff’s deputies.

Dumanis declared at a news conference at the Hall of Justice:

“The law recognizes police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving. As prosecutors we have an ethical duty to follow the law and only charge individuals when we have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The only reasonable conclusion was the officer’s actions were justified.”

Olango’s family, friends and supporters quickly denounced Dumanis’ exoneration and pledged to continue the struggle for justice for him.  They called for an independent investigation into the officer’s use of deadly force.
At a news conference at the at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Shelltown, Olango’s father, Richard Olango Abuka stated:

“War has been declared on humanity and the battle line has been drawn. This is the time to talk for Alfred. This is the time to defend Alfred … and even to cry for Alfred.” 

The San Diego branch of the National Action Network, a civil-rights group, has called upon Governor Jerry Brown to appoint a special prosecutor to the case. The Rev. Al Sharpton – head of the National Action Network – has called on the Justice Department to investigate the shooting.

 Local NAN chapter has plans to lead a march in downtown San Diego on Monday, Jan. 16th during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, to commemorate the civil-rights leader and speak out on community issues, including police reform. The march will start at 2 p.m. at Park Boulevard and B Street and end at City Hall.

Sit-down on Broadway in El Cajon. Photo by Frank Gormlie

Right after the Sept. 27th shooting of Olango protests broke out in the streets of El Cajon, with people marching around that city for days and nights. The controversial shooting pushed the city and San Diego into the national discussion about police shootings of unarmed Black men, of how police agencies deal with individuals with mental issues, and the debate over relationships between cops and communities of color.Also, a wrongful-death claim with the city has been filed by Olango’s relatives, which is a required step prior to the filing of a lawsuit. Brian Dunn, an LA attorney representing  Olango’s wife and daughters, criticized the DA’s ruling.

This is not in any way going to diminish our resolve to seek justice for the family through the civil justice system and the reforms that will work to ensure that this type of homicide does not occur in the future.”

Dunn said a federal civil-rights lawsuit is “imminent.” In addition, Dan Gilleon, a lawyer from San Diego – who represents another El Cajon police officer in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Richard Gonsalves, said Gonsalves “escalated a situation that should have been de-escalated.” Gilleon also represents Olango’s sister.

San Diego attorney Dan Gilleon, who is representing an El Cajon officer in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Gonsalves, said Gonsalves “escalated a situation that should have been de-escalated. He provoked and terrified a man he knew was having a mental breakdown.” Gilleon also represents Olango’s sister.

News source: San Diego Union-Tribune

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar John January 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I’m sorry but nowhere in this article does it have the picture that justified the shooting. You cannot assume a shooting stance while pointing a cylindrical metal object which witnesses described as a gun, without being shot.

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