LOCAL NEWS: Angst Over Police Shootings Rocks California Cities

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By Doug Porter

Community unrest over the deaths of black people at the hands of police in California continued unabated throughout the weekend. And it wasn’t just in El Cajon/San Diego.

Alfred Olango died in El Cajon on Tuesday. A composite video taken from a security camera and a bystander’s cellphone was released on Friday. Carnell Snell Jr. died in Los Angeles on Saturday, the second police-involved death in two days. And a particularly grotesque video of the July 11th death of Joseph Mann in Sacramento surfaced showing police officers trying to run him down before chasing him down and firing 14 shots into him.

VIEW VIDEO HERE

San Diego

On Saturday there were three local protests: a prayer service followed by a march in El Cajon, a small march thru downtown San Diego and a larger rally at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park. Overnight on Saturday, a dozen people were arrested, according to the Union-Tribune, for “suspicion of failing to depart an unlawful assembly near Broadway and North Mollison Avenue in El Cajon, near where Alfred Olango was fatally shot by police Tuesday.”

El Cajon police Lt. Rob Ransweiler said officers shut the protest of about 300 people down after a fight broke out and someone reportedly left to get a gun. The group had gathered where Olango was shot, near Broadway and North Mollison Avenue.

“Sensing this shift in the demeanor of the crowd and out of concern for community safety, officers declared an unlawful assembly and ordered the group to disperse,” Ransweiler said in a statement.  

There is plenty of commentary on Facebook from participants in the aftermath of Saturday night / Sunday morning events saying the police actions were not justified.

On Sunday, 25 pastors who are part of the East County Pastors Prayer Network read a statement to their congregations calling for unity and transformation in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Alfred Olango.

Los Angeles

There were street protests both Saturday and Sunday night in South Los Angeles following the death of Carnell Snell, Jr. The intersection at 107th Street and Western Avenue was blocked on and make-shift memorial was erected. On Sunday night,  LAPD officers in riot gear cleared the area, telling people to leave or face arrest.  Four people were arrested for suspicion of failing to disperse.

Police told reporters said they were pursuing a vehicle carrying Snell as a passenger because they believed it may have been stolen. Subsequently, authorities have not disclosed whether the car was in fact stolen.

A neighbor who identified herself as Ms. Crosby, told the LA Times she saw Snell flee from police officers, then leap over the side gate, followed by about eight gunshots. The witness said she did not see whether Snell was carrying a gun — she only saw him pulling up his pants as he was running.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The shooting came a day after an armed 18-year-old was fatally shot by police outside his home, stirring unrest and protests in South L.A. that continued Sunday evening.

Carnell Snell Jr. was shot Saturday afternoon near 107th Street and Western Avenue after he bailed out of a vehicle being pursued by police and ran away on foot. Police said Snell was armed with a gun, which was recovered at the scene.

The shooting sparked protests that shut down the intersection at 108th Street and Western Avenue on Saturday and Sunday nights. A crowd Sunday evening blocked traffic and taunted news reporters; some people vandalized local businesses, scrawling graffiti on storefronts.

Sacramento

Oakland-based attorney John Burris called a press conference for Monday morning to announce that the family of Joseph Mann is demanding a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the Sacramento Police Department, as well as pushing for murder charges against the two officers who fired the shots on July 11th.

Release of the video by the Sacramento police came on September 20th, following weeks of pressure from City officials and community leaders. Then the Sacramento Bee obtained surveillance footage of the shooting from a private citizen. Shortly thereafter, the department quickly called a news conference to release the dash-cam footage and other materials.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Several news outlets, including The Times, wrote about the release of videos and audio tapes at the time. On Friday, however, the Bee reported specific details of the video and audio taken from inside the police cruiser in which one officer is quoted as saying about the suspect, “I’m going to hit him,” and the other responding, “Go for it.” The Washington Post also ran a story on Saturday.    

From the Sacramento Bee:

In the audio of a dashboard camera video released by police in the Mann shooting, one of the two officers said “f— this guy,” as they approach the scene in their vehicle. Moments later, the driver – identified as Tennis in court papers Burris was to file Monday – said, “I’m going to hit him.”

“OK. Go for it. Go for it,” his partner, Officer Randy Lozoya, responded.

In the next audible clip, an officer said, “We’ll get him. We’ll get him.” They stopped the car and then chased Mann on foot.

Seconds later, they fired 18 shots at Mann, hitting him with 14, according to police Chief Sam Somers Jr.

“This is murder and a reckless disregard for human life,” said attorney John Burris, in his call for an investigation.

Public Forum Thursday on the Shooting of Alfred Olango

The San Diego chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) will host a community forum this Thursday to discuss the tragic death of Alfred Olango. The forum, open to all community members, will be 6:30-8:30pm October 6, at the College-Rolando branch library, 6600 Montezuma Rd, San Diego.

SURJ is a national organization that educates and engages white people to fight for racial justice alongside communities of color.

The El Cajon police shooting of Alfred Olango, an unarmed black man in mental distress, brought the national crisis of police violence toward black men to San Diego. This special SURJ forum is open to anyone who is upset or confused about the shooting and wants to change our system of institutional racism. It is an opportunity to speak out, ask questions, and discuss solutions in a safe space.

Please RSVP on the SURJ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/245272505874674/

Candidate Forum on Policing Issues

The National Action Network and Women Occupy San Diego have announced a rather timely candidate forum focusing on police accountability for Wednesday, October 12.

Featured will be San Diego City Attorney candidates Mara Elliott and Robert Hickey, along with District 9 City Council contenders Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez.

Reporter Kelly Davis, who’s unarguably done a stellar job in writing stories about local law enforcement over the past few years, will be moderating.

Doors will open at the East African Cultural Community Center (4061 Fairmount Ave. San Diego, 92105) at 6:30, with a 90-minute forum starting at 7pm.

For more information contact

More Solutions

It’s not like there aren’t people offering up solutions to the problems between communities and police departments around the country.

Read NY Daily News reporter Shaun King’s 25-Part Series with solutions for police brutality.

Then there’s the Deray McKession (and others’) Campaign Zero effort, which promises:

We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.

CampaignZero-620

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