EL CAJON (CBSLA.com/AP) — Video footage released Friday of the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in a San Diego suburb shows an officer fired four shots almost immediately after the man suddenly raised both hands to chest level and took what was described as a shooting stance.
The video was released after three nights of unruly and, at times, violent protests, and on the eve of a large demonstration called for by the man’s family, who had pressured authorities in El Cajon to show the full footage of the fatal encounter.
In addition to releasing the short cellphone video shot by a worker in a drive-thru window at a Mexican restaurant, authorities also released surveillance footage shot from a similar vantage point. Alfred Olango’s family members live in apartments behind the restaurant, and his sister reportedly is the woman shown in the video.
The surveillance video showed Officer Richard Gonsalves with his weapon drawn approaching Olango, who moves side to side and backs up toward a white pickup. The heads of both men are blurred in the video.
A second officer who appears in the final seconds of the video fired a stun gun simultaneously.
Police Chief Jeff Davis said the decision to release the video came out of a concern for public safety after demonstrations had become increasingly violent.
On Thursday night, a small group of protesters threw rocks, bottles and bricks at police, and one officer was stuck in the head. Protesters continued to gather at the restaurant Friday night, but they were mostly peaceful.
Olango, 38, a Ugandan refugee who arrived in the U.S. as a boy, was fatally shot Tuesday by an El Cajon officer responding to dispatches about a mentally unstable man behaving erratically and walking in traffic.
Police said Olango had not obeyed an order to remove a hand from his pants pocket and was fatally shot after he quickly drew an object from the pocket and pointed it at an officer in a “shooting stance,” police said. The object was an e-cigarette device.
Police initially released just a single frame from a bystander’s video that showed his hands together outstretched at chest level and aiming an object at Gonsalves, who shot four times.
Olango’s family and demonstrators demanded to see the full video, saying the single frame was selectively misleading to support the police version of events.
The family declined to see the videos before a news conference, according to the chief who said he did not know why.
The decision to release the witness video and footage from a security camera was welcomed by their lawyer.
“It’s about time,” attorney Dan Gilleon said.
Andre Branch, head of the San Diego NAACP, also applauded the release.
Branch says full disclosure to the public builds trust and demonstrates respect.
He spoke shortly before the videos were shown.
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