On Wednesday, El Cajon police reported that a witness voluntarily provided a cell phone video of Tuesday afternoon's police shooting of an unarmed African-American man. The man has not yet been identified by police, but his sister, who was present when the fatal shooting occurred, has told media his name is Alfred Colango.
Police have yet to publicize the witness recording, and have only released a still photo from the civilian footage. The image shows two white officers pointing guns at the victim, who appears to have his hands raised and holding an object.
According to Reuters, the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned accounts that witnesses' phones were confiscated by police. The police department has denied this and tweeted, "No phones were confiscated from anyone at the scene."
We ask that the community please be careful about reacting to inaccurate information. No phones were confiscated from anyone at the scene.— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 28, 2016
The shooting is presently under investigation by the San Diego District Attorney's office.
Another police shooting involving an African-American man has sparked protests – this time in El Cajon, California.
A mentally disabled black man, identified by his sister as 30-year-old Alfred Colango, was shot and wounded in an encounter outside a public shopping center on Tuesday afternoon. Police claimed the man was acting “erratically and failed to comply,” but did not explain the precise threat he presented to the officers.
Official sources claim the man is critically wounded, by the victim’s sister says he died at the scene.
The police said they responded to 911 calls from the man’s sister and found him walking in traffic, adding the victim concealed his hand in his pants pocket before rapidly drawing an “object” and extending it toward an officer. This led an officer to fire his taser the other, the one who had the object pointed at him, fired his weapon.
The victim has not been officially identified yet.
The law enforcement agency has reportedly acquired a mobile recording of the incident, but it has not been released yet.
Police also alleged that the man was behaving in an “erratic” fashion.
The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air— El Cajon Police (@elcajonpolice) September 28, 2016
However, the eyewitnesses tell a completely different story.
Michael Rodriguez says he saw man with hands up shot my El Cajon PD officers. He heard five shots fired. pic.twitter.com/zC68rXpAxc— David Hernandez (@D4VIDHernandez) September 28, 2016
People at the scene told the media that the man had extended his arms and was not holding a weapon.
“I see a man, I see a black man surrounded by officers with their guns out… black man with his hands up …he’s jerking, he’s confused, he runs this way,” said a witness. “As soon as he runs this way, they discharge boom, boom, boom… five shots.”
Another man has also corroborated this account.
“He was like this, don’t shoot, don’t shoot and they still shot him,” he said.
A witness told ABC 10 that the victim was having a seizure, while another said they did not see a weapon.
Michael Ray Rodriguez, who was also present at the scene, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the man was shirtless and standing with his hands up before an officer shot him.
The victim’s sister also posted an emotional Facebook live video shortly after the incident.
El Cajon Police Department confirmed that none of the cops involved were wearing body cameras at the time. A report claims the cops also seized eyewitnesses' cellphones.
"By seizing phones, police would likely be preventing the dissemination of video captured by bystanders," the San Diego ACLU chapter said in a statement. "The public has the right to film police in public places, and police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photos or video without a warrant."
Emotions were running high as the protesters began congregating at the mall to express their frustration and demand answers for this ongoing violence.
“Prayer might not help police stop shooting us. I appreciate the prayer, I do, but the police are not gonna stop shooting us because we prayin’ about it,” said a young woman at a prayer circle. “We’ve been praying for over 400 years.”
A prayer circle forms at shooting scene in EC. Many yelling that this isn't the time for prayer. Very tense scene. pic.twitter.com/UBBU6mXFC7— John Carroll (@johncarrollcw6) September 28, 2016
LIVE at Broadway Village Shopping center. Crowd gathering near site of an officer-involved shooting in El Cajon. Gathering for prayer now pic.twitter.com/Ewv0So6Z5b— 10News (@10News) September 28, 2016
September 28, 2016 : 0 7p m PDT
The shooting comes a week after undercover police in Charlotte, North Carolina, killed an African-American man, Keith Lamont Scott, while he sat in his car, waiting for his son to arrive from school.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, GONZALO FUENTES