The news is out: [The White police officer involved in the controversial, videotaped arrest of a young Black man earlier this year is no longer employed by the La Mesa Police Department, a city official announced Friday.
The arrest of Amaurie Johnson by now-former Officer Matt Dages came just two days after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, at a time when protests were swelling across the country, and contributed to La Mesa becoming the center of the first wave of local protests against police.
According to videos of the arrest, a police account of the incident and a lawsuit filed by Johnson last month, the 23-year-old was waiting for friends outside a luxury apartment complex near a La Mesa trolley station when Dages approached and accused Johnson of smoking marijuana, which Johnson denied.
According to Johnson’s civil rights lawsuit, which he filed against the city, Dages and up to six unidentified officers, Dages asked him why he was standing in front of the parking lot of The District apartment complex. The officer told Johnson to get his friends on the phone and, a short time later, they drove up and at least one began to record the encounter.
Johnson tried to walk away, the suit says, but the officer repeatedly pushed Johnson down onto a concrete bench and grabbed him by the basketball jersey he was wearing to keep him from leaving.
As other officers came to assist Dages, Johnson was handcuffed, and Dages said Johnson “smacked” him. Johnson denied it and reminded the officer that people nearby were recording.
Johnson was taken to the police station, where he was issued a citation for assault on a peace officer and released. About a week later, La Mesa police announced they would not seek charges against Johnson.
The bystander video and body-worn camera footage released by police showed Dages grabbing and shoving Johnson in the moments before he was detained. The video captured by Dages’ body worn-camera does not show Johnson assaulting the officer, though he is at times briefly out of frame.]
What more is needed to convince morons that police reform must be done?