News Brief

Ugandan Man Has Been Gunned Down By Police After His Sister Called Them for Help

Alfred Olango, 30-years-old, disabled and unarmed, has become the 217th black victim killed by police in 2016.

As police officers time and time again fail to be indicted for killing unarmed black men and women who have their hands up in surrender, cry out “Don’t shoot” or “I can’t breathe” or simply “looks like a bad [person],” they have become more emboldened, gunning down children and individuals with disabilities. It’s sickening. It’s exhausting. It’s painful.


It doesn’t matter which part of the African diaspora you hail from. And it’s happened again.

Alfred Olango, a 38-year-old man originally from Uganda, has been shot and killed by police in El Cajon, California. His name, like the 216 other Black men and women who have been killed by police this year alone, began trending on social media late Tuesday night after a bystander posted a video clip of the shooting aftermath on Facebook, Al Jazeera reports. It’s been viewed at least 78,000 times.

You can view it here. Please exercise self-care—if you decide to watch, the video is emotionally disturbing and contains profanity.

Police from the El Cajon suburb where the incident took place released a statement late on Tuesday night, several hours after the shooting outside a shopping center, announcing that Olango had died in hospital.

Here’s how the incident unfolded:

Olango’s sister called the police for help when she noticed her brother was acting strangely. Early eyewitness accounts suggested that Olango was having a seizure or some other sort of medical or mental-health emergency.

“I called three times for them to come help me,” Olango’s sister says. “Nobody came; they said it’s not priority.”

Police understood that they were responding to a 5150 call, which is employed “when a person, as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to himself/herself or others or is gravely disabled,” which is corroborated by from the police-scanner audio.

"The male subject paced back and forth while the officers tried to talk to him," El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis says. "At one point, the male rapidly drew an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together on it, extended it rapidly towards the officer, taking what appeared to be a shooting stance, putting the object in the officer's face," News10 reports.

"Why couldn't you tase him? I told you he is sick. And you guys shot him!" Olango's sister can be heard telling officers in the Facebook video. "I called police to help him, not to kill him."

However, several eyewitness allege "officers were unduly quick to open fire and suggested that their actions had been influenced by the fact that they were dealing with a Black man, one they described as mentally challenged,” according to CBS8. Others say Olango had both of his arms extended outward when he was shot and begged police not to shoot him.

Police deny this.

The El Cajon Police Department released the image below to suggest Olango was a threat:

 

Image of Alfred Olango released by El Cajon Police Department

Davis confirmed that Olango was not holding a gun, although an unidentified object (early eyewitness say it may have been a vape pen) has been recovered from the scene.

Following Olango’s killing by police, protesters gathered at the scene for several hours, alleging police brutality. Demonstrations were also held outside the police department.

Although the past cases would suggest otherwise, police at the news conference insist, “The truth will come out.

Interview
Photo: Jolaoso Adebayo.

Crayon Is Nigeria's Prince of Bright Pop Melodies

Since emerging on the scene over two years ago, Crayon has carved a unique path with his catchy songs.

During the 2010s, the young musician Charles Chibuezechukwu made several failed attempts to get into a Nigerian university. On the day of his fifth attempt, while waiting for the exam's commencement, he thought of what he really wanted out of life. To the surprise of the thousands present, he stood up and left the centre, having chosen music. "Nobody knew I didn't write the exam," Charles, who's now known to afro pop lovers as Crayon, tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom call from a Lagos studio. "I had to lie to my parents that I wrote it and didn't pass. But before then, I had already met Don Jazzy and Baby Fresh [my label superiors], so I knew I was headed somewhere."

His assessment is spot on. Over the past two years Crayon's high-powered records have earned him a unique space within Nigeria's pop market. On his 2019 debut EP, the cheekily-titled Cray Cray, the musician shines over cohesive, bright production where he revels in finding pockets of joy in seemingly everyday material. His breakout record "So Fine" is built around the adorable promises of a lover to his woman. It's a fairly trite theme, but the 21-year-old musician's endearing voice strikes the beat in perfect form, and when the hook "call my number, I go respond, oh eh" rolls in, the mastery of space and time is at a level usually attributed to the icons of Afropop: Wizkid, P-Square, Wande Coal.

"My dad used to sell CDs back in the day, in Victoria Island [in Lagos]," reveals Crayon. "I had access to a lot of music: afrobeat, hip-hop, Westlife, 2Face Idibia, Wizkid, and many others." Crayon also learnt stage craft from his father's side hustle as an MC, who was always "so bold and confident," even in the midst of so much activity. His mother, then a fruit seller, loved Igbo gospel songs; few mornings passed when loud, worship songs weren't blasting from their home. All of these, Crayon says, "are a mix of different sounds and different cultures that shaped my artistry."

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