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Vol. 80/No. 39      October 17, 2016

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100s protest cop killing of Alfred Olango in California

EL CAJON, Calif. — Over 300 people marched here Oct. 1 to protest the police killing of 38-year-old Alfred Olango in this San Diego suburb four days earlier. The march was one of daily protests since he was killed.

Olango, a restaurant cook who came to the U.S. from Uganda, was gunned down by police in a taco shop parking lot. He was distraught about the death of his best friend, Olango’s mother told Associated Press, and his sister called 911 asking for help because he was acting erratically.

Within one minute of arriving on the scene, Officer Richard Gonsalves shot and killed him while Officer Josh McDaniel simultaneously shocked him with a Taser stun gun. Olango was holding an e-cigarette in front of him and was unarmed.

The protests led police officials to release videos they had been withholding. One shows a woman telling the cops not to shoot him and a cop tells her to “Shut the f--- up.” Seconds later, Olango is dead.

“When the officer pulled the trigger on my son he declared war on humanity,” Richard Olango Abuka, Alfred’s father, told the Oct. 1 rally. “We are going to fight like one people, like brothers and sisters. The police officer who killed my son is a criminal.”

“I’m out here because of the need to stop the killing,” Jeremiah Patton, a 22-year-old retail worker who joined the march, told the Militant. “The cops have to stop trying to justify it.”

Several religious figures, Black and Caucasian alike, also spoke at the rally.

Spreading opposition to cop brutality

The killing was one of several recent police killings nationwide, including of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Olango was one of three Black men killed by cops in southern California within the last week.

Reginald Thomas, a father of eight children, was killed in Pasadena Sept. 30 when police fired a Taser at him and he stopped breathing. Carnell Snell Jr. was shot and killed by cops the following day after he fled from a car they were attempting to pull over. The cops chased him as he ran toward his home in South Los Angeles. These killings were also met by protests.

Protests by professional athletes started when Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, started kneeling during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner before games. He has since been joined by other athletes, both Black and Caucasian.

This protest is spreading widely in high schools across the country. “You can’t continue to slap people in the face and not expect them to stand up,” Vicqari Horton, a junior tight end at Aurora Central High School in Aurora, Colorado, told the New York Times.

Over the past weekend three-quarters of the team’s players joined the protest. The Oct. 3 Times reported similar demonstrations at high schools in Camden, New Jersey; Omaha, Nebraska; Madison, Wisconsin; San Francisco and Oakland, California; and Seattle. Some included cheerleaders and band members.

“We know what we’re doing; we made a conscious decision,” Jalil Grimes, 17, the senior quarterback in Aurora, told the Times. “We see police do us wrong. We see our teachers give up on us and expect us to fail. We’ve always seen this. Once we saw somebody else stand up against it, we just fell in line.”

And in Beaumont, Texas, 11- and 12-year-olds from a youth team called the Beaumont Bulls took a knee.  
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