The police department in El Cajon, California, released two videos Friday showing the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango, an unarmed black man, three days earlier.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis presented the footage at a press conference. The videos came from a drive-thru security camera and a bystander’s mobile phone.
In the surveillance video, Olango, 38, is approached by a single officer, identified by police as Richard Gonsalves, in a parking lot behind a Mexican restaurant in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon on Tuesday. A second officer in a squad car, identified as Josh McDaniel, drives up and walks over to the pair. Moments later, Olango’s body drops to the ground as Gonsalves fires four shots. The shots are audible in the mobile phone video. A person ― Olango’s sister, according to the Los Angeles Times ― can be heard wailing at the end of the video.
Police say they were responding to calls about a mentally unstable person walking in traffic. Officers confronted Olango, who they said refused multiple instructions to remove his hand from his pocket. No instructions are audible in either video, although the surveillance footage appeared to have no audio.
In a Wednesday press release, the police had explained the events like this: After one officer pointed his service pistol at Olango and a second officer prepared to fire a stun gun, Olango pointed an object at the officers with “what appeared to be a shooting stance.” Then, the one officer fired his stun gun while the other simultaneously fired his pistol several times, killing Olango.
The object in Olango’s hand turned out to be a vape smoking device. Davis displayed a similar device during Friday’s press conference.
The release of the videos comes as hundreds of protesters have gathered each night since the shooting, with some people turning violent on Thursday. They’ve denounced the killing and called for the footage. Initially, police had released just a single frame.
Olango’s family had called for the full video footage and urged demonstrators to be peaceful during an emotional press conference on Thursday.
“I am always for peace,” said Pamela Benge, the victim’s mother. “I don’t want war. If you have seen war, you will never ever, ever want to step near.”
She said that her son was not mentally ill and that he was a “good, loving man.”
Dan Gilleon, an attorney assisting the family, also pushed back against claims that Olango was mentally ill. The lawyer said that Olango was going through a “mental breakdown” when police encountered him because a friend had recently died.
Olango arrived in the U.S. with his family as refugees in the early 1990s. On Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency had twice tried to deport him for drug and firearm convictions. But his native country of Uganda refused to take him back.
El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said Wednesday that he was shaken by the shooting. “If it were my son, I’d be devastated,” Wells said.
He also pledged that the investigation into the killing would be transparent.
The city had urged businesses to close early on Friday due to the planned release of the video footage.