“Lock him up!”
They shouted those strong words in front of the El Cajon Police Department Saturday.
The group, led by the National Action Network and members of Alfred Olango's family, marched from the taco shop where Olango was shot last September to the police station on Civic Center Way.
The words referred to Officer Richard Gonsalves, who fatally shot Olango and who the marchers want removed from the department.
“We hope that people will all gather together and see what’s going on, and support the removal of racist, violent offending police,” participant Yusef Miller told NBC 7. “Not all police are this way, but the ones that are need to be removed right away. We cannot afford to have our children and our family members targeted by people who are supposed to protect and serve us.”
Emotions ran high at the march where participants hoped to keep Olango’s memory fresh in the mind of the community.
“This is terrorism on our streets and we will not put up for it,” Miller added. “And everyone is here today to support the family of Alfred Olango and for the whole nation to know that this police brutality will not be tolerated.”
“Part of the reason I am here is because we want the death of Alfred Olango to be a trigger that allows people to realize there is something really wrong with the police department, all over, not just in El Cajon.” Charlie Lakony, a member of Olango’s extended family told NBC 7. “The fact that my brother … was killed here when the police could have done something different speaks to the issue of the system being wrong.”
Lakony, who spoke at the rally, said there are three things the marchers want: Richard Gonsalves removed from the department, some type of civilian watchdog group that oversees the police department and for the department to work with the community to solve the problem.
“I want to make sure that ultimately the community where all the police brutalities are taking place realize that it is up to them to say to the department ‘we cannot tolerate racism the way it is being demonstrated blatantly by the police departments in our community,” Lakony added.
He said the police need to engage with the community because they are part of the community.
“These young men and young women who are wearing this uniform, they come from this community, they are members of this community. When they take those … uniforms off they’re my brothers, my sisters, my uncles, my nephews.”
In January, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that Gonsalves was justified and would not face charges.