SAN DIEGO (CN) — The father of the unarmed Ugandan immigrant who was shot to death by an El Cajon police officer last year has sued the officer and his police force in Federal Court.
Officer Richard Gonsalves shot Alfred Olango to death on Sept. 27 in the parking lot of a strip mall in El Cajon, about 20 miles east of San Diego.
Olango’s sister Lucy had called 911 three times that afternoon to get help for her brother who was suffering a mental crisis after losing his best friend to suicide.
Gonsalves shot Olango four times, killing him.
Last week San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis found the shooting justified and said Gonsalves would not face criminal charges. Dumanis said the “critical” moment came when Olango suddenly removed his hands from his pockets and took a “shooting stance” just feet away from Gonsalves. The metal object Olango pointed at Gonsalves turned out to be an e-cigarette.
Olango’s father, Richard Olango Abuka, sued El Cajon Police Department and Gonsalves on Friday; the lawsuit was made available Tuesday.
Abuka seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations and interference with familial relationship. He says Gonsalves knew Olango was having a mental health crisis because the officer was dispatched on a “5150” call, California code for an involuntary psychiatric hold.
However, “Instead of waiting for a psychiatric emergency response team (PERT) to arrive or implementing other, non-lethal detention or calming techniques, defendant Richard Gosalves drew his firearm and aggressively confronted, chased and cornered decedent Alfred Olango,” the lawsuit states.
Abuka claims that Gonsalves’ “cowboy attitude and demeanor” provoked his son, and “very quickly escalated the noncriminal, ‘5150’ call to deadly force without warning.”
He says Gonsalves failed to “provide advance warnings prior to shooting” and failed to seek medical help as Olango lay dying on the ground from multiple bullet wounds.
Abuka says his son posed no reasonable threat and did nothing to justify deadly, excessive force, and blames the police department for failing to train Gonsalves.
He is represented by Rodney Diggs with Ivie McNeill & Wyatt in Los Angeles, who did not return an email request for comment after business hours Tuesday.
El Cajon Police spokesman Rob Ransweiler did not return an email request for comment.
Other family members are expected to file additional lawsuits.
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