The El Cajon, Calif. police officer who fatally shot Alfred Olango, who was unarmed and under clear mental distress, will not face criminal charges.
“The law recognizes police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving,” San Diego County, Calif. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said during a news conference at the Hall of Justice. “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.”
Olango’s family and friends quickly condemned the decision and made it clear that their fight is far from over.
“War has been declared on humanity and the battle line has been drawn,” said Richard Olango Abuka, Olango’s father, who recently announced that he’ll be starting an organization for police reform.
Olango was shot and killed last September after officers mistook a vaping device for a weapon. Dumanis claims that the way Olango held the device, instead of dropping it when ordered, was “critical in determining whether the officer’s fear of being shot was reasonable under the circumstances.”
“This is not in any way going to diminish our resolve to seek justice for the family through the civil justice system and the reforms that will work to ensure that this type of homicide does not occur in the future,” said attorney Brian Dunn, who is representing Olango’s wife and children.
Once again, the criminal justice system has continued its practice of allowing officers to shoot citizens and face no consequences.