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Fatal police shooting was justified, San Diego district attorney finds
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In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, the daughter of Alfred Olango gets tearful while listening to her grandmother, Pamela Benge speak of her son, Alfred Olango, at a press conference in San Diego, Calif., to address the killing of Olango, a Ugandan refugee shot by an El Cajon police officer. Attorney Brian Dunn says he will file a claim against the city on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, on behalf Alfred Olango's widow, Taina Rozier, and Olango's two daughters, who are ages 16 and 12. The claim seeks damages for Olango's death and calls for additional training to help officers deal with the mentally ill, Dunn told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Don Boomer, File) In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, the daughter of Alfred Olango gets tearful while listening to her grandmother, Pamela Benge speak of her son, Alfred Olango, at a press conference in San Diego, Calif., to address the killing of Olango, a Ugandan…
The fatal shooting of Alfred Olango - an unarmed black man - by El Cajon police last year was justified, officials said Tuesday, and the officer involved will not face criminal charges.
In making the announcement, San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said: "The law recognizes police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving. As prosecutors, we have an ethical duty to follow the law and only charge individuals when we have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
"The only reasonable conclusion was the officer's actions were justified."
The decision came more than three months after Olango, 38, was shot during an altercation in the parking lot behind a taco shop in a strip mall.
"In many ways, the response in San Diego County to this shooting is reflective of a bigger picture," Dumanis said of the protests that followed. "We are living in a time where the actions of police officers are under scrutiny more than ever."
According to police, the officers who confronted Olango on Sept. 27 believed he was armed with a weapon - which was later determined to be an e-cigarette device.
The day of the shooting, Olango's sister had called police saying she wanted help for him because he wasn't "acting like himself." Others who called 911 said a man was acting erratically and walking into traffic.
Two officers approached Olango in the parking lot, one with a gun drawn, the other with a Taser.
Cellphone and security camera video released by authorities showed Olango backing up against a white pickup, then pulling a shiny object from his front pants pocket and aiming it at one of the officers.
Officer Josh McDaniel fired the Taser and Officer Richard Gonsalves fired his gun, fatally wounding the Ugandan refugee.
Olango had had prior encounters with law enforcement. Because of drug and firearms convictions, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had twice tried to deport him.
The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, a civil rights group, and the Rev. Shane Harris, president of the organization's San Diego chapter, have called on the Justice Department to investigate the shooting.
Olango's relatives also have filed wrongful-death claims, which can be precursors to lawsuits, with the city.
Littlefield writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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Unarmed, killed. Slippery slope kids, and it only gets worse.