Via @TheRoot UPDATE: #AlfredOlango: El Cajon PD Aware Unarmed Black Man Was in Mental Distress Before They Fatally Shot Him

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Updated Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2:17 a.m. EDT: According to activists on the ground in El Cajon, the police department informed media that they were aware they were responding to a 5150 call when Olango was killed.

A “5150” call is defined as:

When a person, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled, a peace officer, a member of the attending staff, or another professional person designated by the county may with probable cause take the person into custody and place him or her in a facility for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation.

This information appears to be confirmed by police scanner audio shared by United Against Police Terror – San Diego Copwatch & Campaign for Justice. Calls to El Cajon PD to confirm authenticity of audio have not been returned.

Listen below:

According to Kim Moore, who is on the ground in El Cajon, police confirmed that the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) was not brought in to assist on the call. A description of PERT’s responsibilities are as follows:

Provides emergency assessment and referral for individuals with mental illness who come to the attention of law enforcement through phone calls from community members or in-field law enforcement request for emergency assistance. PERT pairs licensed mental health clinicians with uniformed law enforcement officers/deputies. Clinicians work out of individual law enforcement divisions and respond in the field with their law enforcement partners.

Earlier eyewitness accounts claimed that Olango was having a seizure or some other sort of medical or mental health emergency. The exact nature of Olango’s mental state at the time he was shot has not been confirmed.

What we know:

Olango’s sister called 911 for assistance because he was in mental and/or physical distress.

Police knew they were responding to someone in mental and/or physical distress, based on what police told media and police scanner audio.

The mental health emergency response team in place for these situations was not on the scene to assist.

Olango was unarmed.

Olango is dead.

El Cajon PD released a still image to “prove” Olango was a threat.

Watch El Cajon PD press conference below:

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 27, 10:31 p.m. EDT: The man, identified as Alfred Olango, shot earlier this afternoon by El Cajon police has been confirmed dead. According to multiple eyewitnesses, Olango was having a seizure at the time police shot him. El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis confirmed that Olango was not holding a gun.

Police in El Cajon, Ca. shot a 30-year-old black man in a shopping center Tuesday afternoon and his family is searching for answers while protests swell.

According to eyewitnesses the victim was unarmed and was having some kind of mental health or medical emergency.

Police claim that the man “was acting erratically and failed to comply, although they did not release details on the specific threat he presented to officers,” NBC 7 reports.

“The black male was up with his hands up like this, scared to death, not knowing which way he was gonna go,” said an eyewitness. “And that’s the honest truth.”

“I didn’t hear any command ‘Halt’, ‘Stop’ or ‘I’ll shoot,’” said another witness identified as George. “I didn’t hear any command or yelling. I didn’t hear the man say anything. Next thing I see ‘Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow’ – five shots.”

The man was taken to a local hospital and his condition is currently unknown. According to the victim’s sister, her brother died on the scene.

FOX 5 reports that the El Cajon Police Department has not yet been outfitted with body cameras.

One witness claims that an officer fired at least five rounds. Several eye-witnesses said that the man had his hands up; while others claim that his hands were to his side. Neither version of events has been confirmed.

In the below video, the victim’s sister can be heard crying and screaming to police, “I called for help, I didn’t call for you guys to kill him!”

Rob Ransweiler, spokesperson for the El Cajon PD told reporters, “I hope the community of El Cajon allows for the details of the investigation to be released. I’m confident that the community will support the decision made by the officer.”

According to NBC 7:

The entire shooting was captured on mobile phone video from the drive-through at the Los Panchos restaurant. NBC 7’s Dave Summers said an El Cajon lieutenant told him the restaurant worker voluntarily turned over the phone. The video at some point in this investigation will be released, the lieutenant told Summers.

Maria, an employee at Los Panchos in El Cajon, said police came into the restaurant and took all cell phones from employees after the shooting; they told employees not to talk to anyone, according to Maria. NBC 7 has not confirmed how many phones were confiscated.

This story is developing…

Kirsten West Savali is a cultural critic and an associate editor at The Root. She was named to Ebony magazine’s 2015 “Power 100” list and awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship. Her provocative commentary explores the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter.

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