SAN DIEGO (CBS8) - Local activists are calling on the El Cajon Police Department to release cell phone video from Tuesday's deadly officer-involved shooting that left an unarmed man dead.
Thirty-eight year old Alfred Olango was fatally shot during a confrontation with El Cajon police officers behind a restaurant near the intersection of Interstate 8 and State Route 67. The shooting has sparked widespread protests in El Cajon, with demonstrators insisting that Olango was killed because he was black.
Police officers stated that Olango didn't cooperate and refused to remove his hands from his pockets and assumed "what appeared to be a shooting stance'' and pointed an object that turned out to be an electronic smoking device at the officers. The officers originally responded to the call when police were dispatched to investigate a report of a man behaving "erratically" and walking in and out of traffic.
After the shooting, police made available a still image lifted from cell phone video that showed Olango holding an object as two officers trained their weapons on him.
Community leaders say the public has a right to know what exactly happened during Tuesday's encounter, but law enforcement officials say releasing the all of the footage could interfere with their investigation.
"There are people stepping forward saying they are witnesses and that this is what happened , that his hands were up in the air , that he didn't have on a shirt and are telling a story about what happened," said San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
However, community leaders argue that the still frame was released in order to sway public opinion that the shooting was justified and that the full video should be released immediately.
"This tape must be released now. We want the story told right and to stop being told wrong," said Rev. Shane Harris, National Action Network San Diego.
Last month, law enforcement agencies across San Diego County agreed to a policy when it comes to officer-involved shootings, stating that agencies should release video evidence as quickly as possible to show transparency, but not before the investigation is completed.
"I understand their request to have the video released , but it's important that the investigation be completed so the integrity of the investigation is not tainted in any way," said Dumanis.
The policy also states that there is no obligation to show the entire video recording but only the parts that lead to a decision on whether or not criminal charges should be filed.
"We believe that it should be immediately released to the public," said Christi Hill, ACLU San Diego.
Hill says the entire video needs to be released sooner rather than later.
"By releasing the still, they have undermined their argument about the integrity of the investigation. And the policy is just that, it's a policy and the mayor, the police chief could decide to do something different and we really call on them to release the full footage," said Hill.
The district attorney's office says it has no timeline for when the video will be released and if an officer is charged, it most likely won't be released until it's shown at trial.
Alfred Olango's family and friends are organizing a rally this Saturday. They say they will peacefully march through the streets to demand justice and the release of the video. The rally is expected to begin at 10 a.m. at Prescott Promenade Park in El Cajon.
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