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17 Arrested, Unlawful Assembly Declared During Saturday El Cajon Protests

Reported by Christopher Maue

UPDATE: 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

Seventeen people were arrested during Saturday night protests in El Cajon, according to the city's police department.

Three people were initially arrested near 800 Broadway, one for allegedly driving under the influence and two on suspicion of being drunk in public, according to an El Cajon Police Department news release.

Following the arrest a small group of protesters gathered near 800 Broadway.

The news release said:

"A fight broke out between a few of the protesters and it was reported that someone was leaving to get a gun. Sensing this shift in the demeanor of the crowd and out of concern for community safety, officers declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the group to disperse. The majority of the group left at this time, however some remained.

Officers spoke to those who (remained) and they promised to leave. Eventually, it became apparent the remaining protesters were not planning to leave. They were again notified of the unlawful assembly and ordered to disperse; however they did not make any attempt to leave."

Fourteen people were arrested, 12 for failing to depart an unlawful assembly, one for an arrest warrant and one for public intoxication, according to the police department.

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Marchers listen to speakers after arriving at the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego, Oct. 1, 2016.

Original story

Three events were held in San Diego County Saturday to call for justice for Alfred Olango, who died after being shot by a police officer Tuesday.

A group of about 300 protesters marched from Balboa Park to the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego Saturday evening.

The protesters chanted "this racist system's got to go," "no racist police, no justice, no peace" as they marched.

Photo by Megan Burks

A group of protesters walk through Golden Hill, Oct. 1, 2016.

The march was organized by the San Diego Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Saturday afternoon, a group of about 10 people marched from Logan Heights to San Diego police headquarters in downtown San Diego. The marchers were assembled by community group Black and Blue United.

Ashli Taylor said even though the San Diego Police Department was not involved in the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango — he was shot by an El Cajon police officer — all communities and their police departments should have a dialogue.

"We want to see if we can find solutions that can spread from San Diego throughout the nation," Taylor said.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

A crowd of several hundred demonstrators march peacefully down Main Street in El Cajon, Oct. 1, 2016. They carry signs that read "Not One More" and "I Am Alfred Olango." Police officers fatally shot Olango, a Ugandan immigrant living in El Cajon, Sept. 27, 2016.

Saturday morning a prayer service was held and a group marched from Prescott Promenade Park in El Cajon to the city's government complex.

About 300 people gathered at the park to hear from religious leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva.

"I am a combat veteran and I was in Iraq with the U.S. Marines, and I have seen our police force becoming more and more militaristic. In the process, they do something that they don't know how to do," said Villanueva, who heads the United Church of Christ in Southern California and Nevada. "Leave the war to the warriors. They are the ones who trained to do that. Police officers should be guardians — guardians of our safety, guardians of our communities."

The Rev. Marshall Sharpe, pastor at Phillips Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in San Diego, said the majority of law enforcement officers are good, but that policy and training need to be changed.

"I would use the example of a few weeks ago, when the bomber was apprehended in the New Jersey area," Sharpe said, referring to a Sept. 17 bombing and attempted bombing in New York and New Jersey. "Those law enforcement folks purposely shot him to wound him, not to kill him. If they can do that, they can do it in our communities."

On Tuesday, El Cajon Police Officer Richard Gonsalves quickly fired four bullets at Olango shortly after arriving at the scene. Another officer, Josh McDaniel, deployed a Taser. Olango later died of his injuries.

Photo by El Cajon Police Department

El Cajon police officers confront Alfred Olango in the parking lot of a taco shop, Sept. 27, 2016.

El Cajon Police say Olango took a "shooting stance" and pointed an object, which turned out to be a vape pen, at the officers. A still photo police took from cell phone video of the incident appears to confirm their statement, but in the full video released Friday Olango's actions are less clear.

WARNING: Video shows unedited footage of fatal El Cajon police shooting of Alfred Olango

"As you can see in the video they chased him," said Rumbie Mubaiwa at the Saturday evening march. "He had no other choice than to take that stance."

Mubaiwa used Facebook Live to show the scene of the shooting shortly after it happened.

An investigation is ongoing.

At the morning prayer service, Olango's brother, Apollo Olango, thanked the community for its ongoing support.

"Thank you for helping my brother's name never be forgotten and his passing not be in vain," he said. "You've given us all strength."

Saturday marks the fifth day of largely peaceful demonstrations. The most unruly gathering occurred Thursday night as crowds demanded the release of surveillance and cell phone footage of the shooting. The Associated Press reports one officer was struck in the head with a brick during the protest.

The El Cajon Police Department and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis released the videos the following day.

KPBS staffers Megan Burks, David Wagner, Andrew Bowen, Christopher Maue and Brooke Ruth contributed to this report.


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