- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2016

The device that an unarmed black man pointed at two police officers in El Cajon, California, just before one fatally shot him Tuesday was a vaping device, according to police.

Protesters have questioned the police version of events, including why mental health experts were not dispatched with the officers who called to respond to reports of a man behaving erratically.

Officials confirmed that the El Cajon Police Department has an agreement with the Community Research Foundation’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team, which sends licensed clinicians out with officers who respond to mental health calls. But the single clinician who was on-duty with a police officer that day was out on another mental health call at the time of the incident.

The shooting occurred Tuesday afternoon outside a shopping center in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, after officers were called for a report of an man who was running in and out of traffic “not acting like himself.” It took officers more than 50 minutes to respond to the scene after the first call.

The two officers who arrived on scene gave the man, identified as 38-year-old Alfred Olango, multiple commands to remove his hand from his pocket. Police said the man refused the orders and paced back and forth. He then quickly removed an item from his pocket, “placed both hands together and extended them rapidly toward the officer taking up what appeared to be a shooting stance,” according to the police department’s account.

One of the officers deployed a Taser, but the other, who had a firearm drawn and pointed at the man, opened fire. Mr. Olango was killed.

An attorney for Mr. Olango’s family said the Ugandan refugee was in the midst of a mental breakdown as a result of a friend’s death.

“His best friend died and he was having an emotional reaction to that,” attorney Dan Gilleon told The Associated Press.

Police described the electronic smoking device that Mr. Olango pulled from his pocket as having a 3-inch long cylinder that was pointed at the officers and a 4-inch long box that Olango gripped in his hand.

Police released a still image taken from a cellphone video that shows Mr. Olango in the “shooting stance” just before he is killed. The full video that was taken by a bystander has not been released.

Meanwhile, U.S. authorities twice tried to deport Mr. Olango, but his native Uganda refused to take him, the AP reported.

Then last year, Mr. Olango stopped reporting to immigration authorities as required under terms of his freedom, and it’s unclear whether the government made any attempt to find him.

An explanation for why Mr. Olango remained in the country lies in a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that generally prohibits the detention of foreign nationals for more than six months if deportation is unlikely, according to the AP. The nation’s highest court said in the 5-4 decision that holding people indefinitely only because no country will take them violates the constitutional right to due process.

Some of the thousands of immigrants who have been released after being ordered deported went on to commit crimes, making the Zadvydas vs. Davis decision a lightning rod for critics who say it illustrates a broken system.

Mr. Olango, who arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1991, was among those who committed crimes.

He was ordered deported by an immigration judge in 2002 following his conviction for transporting and selling narcotics, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told The Associated Press on Thursday. However, Uganda wouldn’t take him back after multiple requests, leading to his release in 2003 under an order of supervision.

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