More than a dozen demonstrators backed by the NAACP gathered at the federal courthouse in Downtown San Diego Wednesday, calling for a restraining order against El Cajon police.
The push comes after the fatal police shooting of Alfred Olango on Sept. 27 in the parking lot of a El Cajon strip mall. The demonstrators claim that police are infringing upon their first amendment rights by calling their peaceful demonstrations "Unlawful Assembly."
Olango was shot and killed by El Cajon police officers during a confrontation behind Los Panchos, a Mexican restaurant. Officers had been responding to a mental distress call.
Police said Olango pulled a vaping device from his waistband and pointed it officers. That's when one officer deployed a Taser while the other fired several rounds from his gun.
The shooting prompted several protests in El Cajon, some peaceful while others turned violent. Police declared "unlawful assembly" for some of the protests.
On Wednesday, the NAACP and demonstrators gathered at the downtown courthouse in hopes that the judge would issue a temporary restraining order to stop El Cajon police from declaring "unlawful assembly'' and arrest peaceful demonstrators.
“It’s wrong because it’s a public space. It’s a place where one of our brothers was murdered so we’ve been there grieving and we’re humans," said El Cajon protestor Jahsun Kine. "We have every right to be wherever we want to be. We haven’t done anything for them to come and attack us the way they have.”
But some business owners in El Cajon told NBC 7 that the protests and demonstrations are hurting their business.
“If they wanna do it, it’s not my problem," said Los Panchos manager Carolina Medina. "But the thing is like, for us, we lose so much customers. They don’t wanna come, they’re scared.”
Last week, officers arrested eight people gathered in the strip mall parking lot after declaring "unlawful assembly."
According to the NAACP, peaceful demonstrators shouldn't have their freedom of speech violated by police.
But police said some of the demonstrations have not peachful—protestors often blocking traffic, slashing car tires, and destroying public property. Several new safety measures are now in place at the strip mall where the shooting happened, including a look-out tower.
"Right now, police are camped out at the site, telling us we can't be there at all unless we're inside a business and that's not right," said protestor Carl Box.
Police told NBC 7 that the changes were impleted at the request of the property owner.
Meanwhile, the judge announced that she will make a decision soon on this issue.