Slain Man’s Family Says Police Chief Ignores Them

Bianca Bruno

SAN DIEGO (CN) – The father of police shooting victim Alfred Olango called on San Diego County’s district attorney to charge the officer who killed his son in September and asked the police chief of El Cajon to meet with his family.

“My son was murdered here in this city,” Richard Olango Abuka told reporters in an emotional news conference outside El Cajon Police Department on Wednesday, 78 days after his son was shot and killed by El Cajon police Officer Richard Gonsalves.

Abuka demanded that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis bring criminal charges against Gonsalves.

“There was negligence in the death of my son,” Abuka said.

Gonsalves is on paid administrative leave.

Abuka said Gonsalves violated police protocol Sept. 27 when he arrived at a strip mall in El Cajon, about 20 miles east of San Diego, an hour after Olango’s sister called for help for her brother, who was having a mental breakdown after the death of a friend.

Gonsalves shot and killed Olango within two minutes of arriving to a “5150 call,” in which police are dispatched to help someone suffering a mental health crisis.

A psychiatric emergency response team was out on another call and did not arrive until after Gonsalves had shot Olango. Police said Olango, 38, took a “shooting stance” and pointed a shiny metal object at Gonsalves.

The object turned out to be an e-cigarette.

“If Gonsalves was properly trained, he would have assessed the situation before he even pulled his gun out. That is a red flag on the police department,” Abuka said.

The Rev. Shane Harris, a member of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, said Wednesday he learned through a San Diego pastor that El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis has refused to meet with the Olango family because it would be “a conflict of interest.”

El Cajon Police spokesman Lt. Rob Ransweiler did not return a phone request for comment on a potential meeting between Davis and the Olango family.

Harris called the lack of public outreach, or private outreach to the Olango family, a “slap in the face” to the community who protested Olango’s death.

Community advocate Marquis Parks called for the newly elected members on El Cajon City Council to revisit the council’s decision this summer not to establish a citizen’s review board of residents to investigate complaints against officers.

“We are still outraged by the unarmed murder of a black man by an officer who was under investigation for sexual harassment,” Parks said, referring to lawsuits filed by one of Gonsalves’ police department coworkers who said he made unwanted advances toward her and sent her sexually explicit text messages.

One of her cases has been settled; she filed a second one a month before Gonsalves shot Olango.

“Seventy-eight days is a long time to not be in jail and be on administrative leave,” Parks said.

Harris called for “pressure protests” in which residents peacefully express their dissatisfaction with the way city officials have handled the shooting.

He asked the district attorney’s office to conduct a “transparent” investigation of the shooting and to communicate with residents and Olango’s family about what is going on.

Olango’s family has called for a protest of police brutality on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16.