A California police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in the throes of a mental breakdown last September will not be charged, a prosecutor announced Tuesday. The shooting of the 38-year-old immigrant from Uganda, Alfred Olango, triggered days of protests in El Cajon, near San Diego. But San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said Tuesday that the shooting was justified. “The law recognizes police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving,” she was cited as saying by the Associated Press. Police encountered Olango in a parking lot on Sept. 27 after receiving a call from his sister and friends saying he was acting erratically. When police found him, he reportedly refused demands to show his hands and instead pulled something out of his pocket and shifted into a shooting stance. Dumanis said Olango was holding something while “simulating the firing of a weapon directly at the officer,” prompting the responding officer to fire four shots at him. The object in Olango’s hands later turned out to be an e-cigarette device. Olango’s family has filed a wrongful-death claim with the city, saying the police department should have enlisted mental-health professionals.
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