Dozens of protesters enraged over the recent fatal police shooting of an unarmed California man broke car windows and hurled glass bottles at cops in riot gear Thursday evening, authorities said.
Alfred Olango was shot and killed by El Cajon police Tuesday afternoon after he pulled a vape smoking device from his pocket that responding officers mistook for a weapon.
Family and friends of Olango said the 43-year-old black man was having a “mental breakdown” over a friend’s recent death when police claim he whipped out the smoking device, pointed it at two officers and took a “shooting stance.”
One of the officers fired his service weapon several times, striking Olango who later died at a hospital.
Protesters have been largely peaceful since word of the fatal shooting got out, but police said at least four people were arrested Thursday after protests turned violent.
“We’re experiencing continued civil unrest,” El Cajon police spokesman Rob Ransweiler told the Daily News late Thursday. “People are throwing bottles and bricks and rocks at officers.”
Roughly 75 protesters broke windows of passing cars while blocking an intersection near the strip mall parking lot where Olango was shot, Ransweiler said. After they refused to disperse, police fired off pepper spray, causing further commotion and violence.
No injuries were reported, but police said a motorcyclist fell off his bike after protesters pushed him.
A 19-year-old man, a 28-year-old man and two others were arrested in regards to the protests, which Ransweiler said raged on early Friday.
A female Facebook user said violence broke out after “people who are not here for the cause” disrupted the otherwise peaceful protests.
“There’s a lot of kids who are throwing s–t at the police while they’re on their bikes and riding off,” the woman said in a live broadcast. “It’s not looking too good guys. They are shooting (pepper spray) at us.”
Protesters have called on police to release a video of the fatal Tuesday shooting captured by a bystander. So far, police have only released a screengrab.
Olango’s devastated mother, Pamela Benge, urged police to release the full video during a Thursday afternoon press conference and encouraged people to continue protesting – but asked them to do it peacefully.
Benge, a Ugandan immigrant, said her son and the rest of her family fled their war-torn home country in hope of safety in the U.S. She asked why police couldn’t shock her son with a stun gun rather than fatally shooting him.
“He needed someone who was going to calm him down and then take care of the situation,” she said, her voice cracking. “Not to come and just finish his life.”
Olango’s sister called police three times Tuesday saying her brother was sick and “not acting like himself.”
It took police over an hour to respond – but once officers arrived, it took less than a minute for the fatal shooting to take place.
Olango’s death comes as the country is already up in arms over two fatal shootings of black men in North Carolina and Oklahoma at the hands of police officers.