U.S. Supreme Court case could impact Olango family lawsuit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

U.S. Supreme Court case could impact Olango family lawsuit

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EL CAJON (CBS 8) - Protesters rallied outside police headquarters Saturday, calling on the El Cajon Police Department to fire the officer who shot and killed Alfred Olango back in September of 2016.

In Olango's case, attorneys argued that Officer Richard Gonsalves "aggressively confronted Olango and cornered him." They allege the officer's demeanor provoked Olango to take a shooting stance, which resulted in his death. The District Attorney's office ruled the shooting was justified. 

The shooting was followed by five consecutive nights of unrest and protests.

El Cajon police released two videos of the shooting three days after the shooting. Each was recorded at a taco shop parking lot in the 800 block of Broadway -- one by a surveillance camera next to a drive-through window, the other by a witness who recorded it on her cell phone.

The snippets show officers Gonsalvez and Josh McDaniel approaching Olango, seen pacing back and forth through a parking area and then next to a parked pickup truck. Following a brief face-off, gunshots sound, and Olango collapses to the pavement.

El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis confirmed that Gonsalves fired his service weapon at Olango as McDaniel simultaneously shot him with a Taser. Both officers have 21 years of law enforcement experience and were placed on administrative leave per department protocol.

The events that led to the fatal confrontation began when patrol personnel were dispatched to investigate three emergency calls from Olango's sister reporting that he was behaving erratically and walking into traffic in a commercial district a few blocks north of El Cajon Valley High School.

Police said Olango was uncooperative, repeatedly refused to remove his hand from his pocket, assumed "what appeared to be a shooting stance" and pointed at Gonsalves an object that turned out to be an electronic smoking device that resembled the barrel of a gun.

Lawyers for the El Cajon Police Department say the lawsuit needs to be put on hold until the U.S.Supreme Court rules on a similar case involving the issue of police brutality.

In the City of Los Angeles versus Mendez, a case that happened back in 2010, sheriff's deputies raided a Los Angeles-area property and shot an innocent couple while searching for a wanted man.

Angel and Jennifer Mendez were in their home at the time deputies entered without a warrant. Angel says he was reaching for a BB gun to move it and deputies opened fire. Jennifer, who was pregnant at the time, was shot in the back and Angel was also hit. He later had to have a portion of his leg amputated. A judge awarded them $4 million dollars. 

A lower court ruled the deputies were liable because they provoked the shooting by entering without a warrant. 

If the shooting is ruled justified, the highest court in the land will need to determine whether or not the officer could still be held liable if proven he somehow provoked the violent encounter.

CBS News 8's Kelly Hessedal reports from downtown at federal court with more about the High Court case.


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