Victim needed help for his mental illness, not bullets
San Diego, CA – The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium(SDIRC) is alarmed by the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Alfred Olango on Tuesday, September 27 by an El Cajon Police Department officer. Mr. Olango was unarmed when he was fatally wounded and had just recovered from a seizure.
SDIRC is further troubled that El Cajon Police Department officers were fully informed that they were responding to a mental health emergency, but did not dispatch their PERT unit, which is specially trained to de-escalate cases where someone is having a mental health crisis. According to a Washington Post report, one in four people killed by police officers were suffering from mental illness, and ill-equipped police officers used deadly force instead of tactics to de-escalate the situation.
We understand that Mr.Olango and his family, originally from Uganda, came to the US seeking refuge and protection. It is particularly tragic that an individual who fled to the US seeking safety should be killed at the hands of police. Mr.Olango’s death comes at a time when police are under scrutiny nationwide for unnecessary deadly encounters with mostly, unarmed Black men.
Ginger Jacobs, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, stated the following:
“It is impossible for our communities to rely on police officers for help when they shoot first and ask questions later. Communities of color and immigrant communities need to know that law enforcement agencies are here to serve and protect ALL people. We demand that an independent investigation be conducted by an agency outside of the El Cajon Police Department or sheriff’s department.“
Ramla Sahid, a member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium Advisory Board, stated the following:
“The murder of Alfred Olango is a devastating blow to both San Diego and immigrant communities. This is truly a sad day for San Diegans as these types of incidents further wedge a gap of mistrust between community members and law enforcement agencies.”
About San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of the Alliance San Diego. Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the Immigrant Rights Consortium. Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: Support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them and to educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants and counter the myths and misstatements made about immigrants. To learn more about SDIRC, visit www.immigrantsandiego.org.