CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED IN DOWNTOWN LA MESA

LA MESA EXTENDS CURFEW FOR NEXT FIVE NIGHTS, SANTEE AND EL CAJON HAVE CURFEWS TONIGHT

BRUSH FIRE IN SANTEE CLOSES HIGHWAY EXITS

ATTORNEY CALLS FOR “JUSTICE” FOR GRANDMOTHER SHOT IN FOREHEAD WITH PROJECTILE DURING PROTEST AT LA MESA POLICE STATION

AFTERMATH OF LA MESA PROTESTS LEAVES RESIDENTS AND PROTESTERS WONDERING WHO IS TO BLAME

CURFEWS IMPOSED AGAIN TONIGHT

EAST COUNTY CITIES AND COUNTY ISSUE CURFEW ORDERS

SAVING LA MESA: RESIDENTS RALLIED TO PROTECT AND RESTORE CITY

NIGHT OF TERROR IN LA MESA

PROTEST AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE TURNS FIERY IN LA MESA

PROTESTERS CALL ON MAYOR FAULCONER TO BAN CHOKEHOLDS BY POLICE

REV. SHANE HARRIS BRINGS SUPPORT TO FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD IN MINNEAPOLIS AND FIGHTS FOR REFORMS TO HALT POLICE KILLINGS

FBI SEEKS INFORMATION ON PEOPLE INCITING VIOLENCE DURING PROTESTS AND COMMITTING VIOLENT ACTS AMID CIVIL UNREST

Witnesses are urged to send tips, photos, videos and surveillance footage to the FBI

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Jake Rose:  Bystanders shoot video as Randall Lamb engineering firm's offices in a historical structure burns

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) – The FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify and arrest violent instigators and those who committed crimes such as arson and looting in the wake of protests across the nation. This includes La Mesa, where violence erupted after Saturday’s protests including burning two banks, vehicles and a historic building as well as vandalism and looting at dozens of local businesses.

Many photos and videos showing crimes in progress during the chaos locally have been posted on social media sites, including some aired by local media organizations.  Many of those contain images that may provide evidence of one or multiple crimes, when compared to other sources of documentation such as surveillance footage taken of looters during the pillaging and burning of local stores and financial institutions.

“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory,” a press released issued by the national FBI in Washington D.C. states.  “Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”

CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED IN DOWNTOWN LA MESA

 

Conflicting Information About Action Causes Media Confusion

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Updated 1:45 p.m. with statement from Sheriff Gore

June 4, 2020 (La Mesa) -- At the request of San Diego County Sheriff William D. Gore, the California National Guard has been deployed to downtown La Mesa to support law enforcement there as protests continue calling for racial justice and police reform.

Confusion and misinformation prevailed Wednesday night, however, when East County Magazine received conflicting information from various normally reliable sources as to whether or not the California National Guard had been deployed at the La Mesa City Center in the aftermath of the devastating destruction that took place on Monday night.

According to a Tweet on the San Diego Union Tribune’s Twitter account, the California National Guard public affairs officer originally told the newspaper’s reporter Alex Riggins that the National Guard had not been requested to deploy to La Mesa, but later called back to apologize that he had been incorrect in his statement.

LA MESA EXTENDS CURFEW FOR NEXT FIVE NIGHTS, SANTEE AND EL CAJON HAVE CURFEWS TONIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

June 3, 2020 (La Mesa) – Following rioting, looting and fires on Saturday in La Mesa and continued civil unrest across our region, the City of La Mesa has announced an extension of curfews each night from June 3 through June 8 from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

El Cajon and Santee have also extended curfews through tomorrow morning.

Below is each city’s announcement, since hours and details vary:

GUARD AT ILLEGAL POT SHOP KILLED IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 3, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A man who reportedly worked as a security guard at an illegal marijuana dispensary was shot and killed last night in Spring Valley.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS REFINE CRITERIA THAT WOULD PROMPT RENEWED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

June 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Even as the County continues to allow additional activities within its health order, it is refining criteria that would prompt renewed restrictions.

A set of 13 triggers was shown to the Board of Supervisors during an update on the County’s COVID-19 response at their meeting Tuesday. The variety of data indicators reviewed would lead public health officials to pull back on the reopening of the local economy.

The modification of the health order would be triggered if any of the following criteria was met:

BRUSH FIRE IN SANTEE CLOSES HIGHWAY EXITS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

June 3, 2020 (Santee) -- A brush fire is burning near State Routes 125, 52, and Mission Gorge Road.  A SIG Alert has been issued. The ramp from eastbound 52 to 125 is closed, Cal Trans and the CHP site report.  ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson reports that the Mission Gorge offramp from 125 is also blocked.  Avoid this area.

*** Update: all ramps have reopened.

ATTORNEY CALLS FOR “JUSTICE” FOR GRANDMOTHER SHOT IN FOREHEAD WITH PROJECTILE DURING PROTEST AT LA MESA POLICE STATION

Warning:  contains graphic image
 
By Miriam Raftery, Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Henri Migala
 
View ECM video of press conference: blob:https://www.facebook.com/e539b59a-58f0-45aa-b5ba-a657a7a608eb
 
June 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – Leslie Furcron, 59, a La Mesa resident and grandmother shot in the forehead with a projectile Saturday night during the George Floyd protest at La Mesa Police headquarters, is now in a medically induced coma and may lose an eye, according to her attorney, Dante T. Pride.  

HUNDREDS AT BALBOA PARK PROTEST STRIVE TO KEEP THE PEACE

 
Article and Photos by Briana Gomez
 
 
June 2, 2020 (San Diego) – A crowd of about 300 people assembled at Balboa Park yesterday afternoon to peacefully protest.  Protesters laid on the grass, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “George Floyd,” referencing the brutal killing by a white police officer of a black man in Minneapolis that has sparked nationwide protests and civil unrest.
 
After four to five hours of peaceful protests, organizers and supporters took the megaphone and spoke to crowds about the importance of gathering in unity. Most of the speakers were Hispanic; one stated, “We want to hear black voices, too.”
 
Mary Stokedly said she wants to use her privilege to help others even if she has to go to the front line and stand in front of cops. “I want to use my privilege in any way that I can even if I need to go in the front, humble myself, serve, and listen” Stokedly, who is white, stated.  “This has been a huge issue for a very long time and the opportunity to come out and protest recently has been very beautiful.”

SAN DIEGO POLICE TO END USE OF CONTROVERSIAL CAROTID CHOKEHOLD, BUT SHERIFF WON’T

Update: 6/3/20 San Diego County Sheriffs Department joins a number of local law enforcement agencies to ban the carotid chokehold

By Miriam Raftery

June 2, 2020 (San Diego) – In the wake of protests over excessive police use of force that have rocked the nation in recent days, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit (photo, left by Ron Logan) announced yesterday that his department will stop the use of the carotid restraints procedure. 

ELDERLY WOMAN INJURED BY TROLLEY IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery and Henri MIgala

 

Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Henri Migala

 

June 2, 2020 (La Mesa) – A 78-year-old woman has been transported to a hospital after suffering injuries when a trolley struck her red Toyota car near the trolley station at the intersection of Spring Street and La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa this afternoon.

AFTERMATH OF LA MESA PROTESTS LEAVES RESIDENTS AND PROTESTERS WONDERING WHO IS TO BLAME

Update: La Mesa curfew extended 7pm 6/2 until 5:30am 6/3
 
By Briana Gomez
 
ECM Editor Miriam Raftery contributed to this report
 
June 2, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The day after the fiery La Mesa protest left the city in shambles, many citizens were suspicious about who really incited the rioting, looting and arson.

SANDAG AWARDS $95,000 TO CITIES AND COUNTY FOR SHARED STREETS PROGRAM

Pilot projects to create safe spaces for biking and walking amid pandemic

Source: SANDAG

Image via Pixabay

June 2, 2020 (San Diego) - In light of the current public health crisis and in recognition of National Bike Month in May, SANDAG created a new pilot program to support local jurisdictions with providing safe spaces for residents to obtain essential goods, services, and exercise.  

CURFEWS IMPOSED AGAIN TONIGHT

 

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

Photo by Henri Migala: Police in riot gear Saturday night in La Mesa

June 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Following civil unrest across the region, all East County cities and some unincorporated county areas are under curfew orders tonight. Curfew orders are as follows:

La Mesa: 7 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. tomorrow

El Cajon 7 p.m. tonight to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow

Lemon Grove 7 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow

Santee 8 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow

Lakeside and Spring Valley:  8 p.m. tonight to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow

TRUMP TELLS "WEAK" GOVERNORS TO "DOMINATE" PROTESTERS

By Joe Gandelman, The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

June 1, 2020 (San Diego) - After a weekend when more demonstrations and looting spread in aftermath of the death of Floyd George, CBS News reports that in a teleconference with governors Donald Trump called governors “weak,” said they need to “dominate” protesters.

STORES CLOSE DOWN, BARRICADE DOORS & BOARD UP WINDOWS TO PREPARE FOR PROTESTERS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

(Photo at left - Walmart at Lemon Grove's College Grove Center)

May 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The “We are open” and “reopened” signs announcing businesses were open after COVID-19 closures were nowhere in sight for some establishments across the East County late this afternoon. Stores closed early, in part due to curfews, or closed for the day in preparation for potential destructive actions by rioters and looters following protests of George Floyd’s death by police officers in Minneapolis.

Walmart Stores at College Grove Center, Santee, and at Parkway Plaza were closed late this afternoon. The College Grove Center location was in the process of boarding up and setting up barricades to lessen the chance of protesters breaking in. Sam's Club was closed for an unspecified time.

The Santee Walmart had red mulch bags stacked up in rows covering the main entry way. According to staff on site they will reopen at 8 a.m. on June 1.

Some La Mesa store fronts near the La Mesa Police Department, where protests turned violent, were boarded up.

Window fronts with glass were replaced with plywood and barricades of various materials in front of entries were common sights on May 31 around east county.

(Photo at right: Santee Walmart) 

EAST COUNTY CITIES AND COUNTY ISSUE CURFEW ORDERS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

May 31, 2020

In a bold move to avoid a repeat of the devastation and violence in connection with Saturday night’s riots which took place in East County San Diego, several cities and the county issue curfews for tonight. Below is the full schedule.

All law enforcement, fire, medical personnel, and members of the news media are exempt from the curfew. Individuals traveling directly to and from work, seeking emergency medical care, fleeing dangerous circumstances, or the homeless as exempted from the order.

SAVING LA MESA: RESIDENTS RALLIED TO PROTECT AND RESTORE CITY

By Miriam Raftery and Kendra Sitton

A Rebuild La Mesa fund has been set up by Phil Ortiz and the East County Chamber of Commerce to  help businesses damaged or destroyed by the riots. You can donate here.

May 31, 2020 (La Mesa) -- With the acrid stench of burning rubble and tear gas still pungent in the air after a night of rioting, looting and destruction, a different kind of mob descended on La Mesa  today. Some 500 to 600 volunteers came armed with brooms, power tools and paint brushes to clean up debris and broken glass, paint over graffiti and board up storefront windows to help protect local businesses if looters return tonight.

Stories of heroism also emerged – business owners, neighbors and strangers who came during the night to drive out looters with baseball bats and makeshift clubs, douse spot fires with fire extinguishers, and help save La Mesa’s historic downtown village.

NIGHT OF TERROR IN LA MESA

 

Protest dissolves into chaos as rioters burn down Chase and Union banks, loot retail stores and attack La Mesa Police headquarters

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson also contributed to this report

Photo, left: screenshot via ECM news partner NBC 7 shows Chase and Union Banks in flames at the heart of La Mesa's downtown village

May 31, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The cozy bedroom community of La Mesa, long likened to the fictious Mayberry RFD town of TV fame, lost its innocence on Saturday night when rioters  overran the city. Multiple arson fires and widespread looting swiftly overwhelmed local police and firefighters after protests over police violence earlier in the day. Mutual aid proved inadequate, leaving La Mesa without adequate resources to defend the city.

SILENT PROTEST HELD AT EL CAJON HOME OF LMPD OFFICER IN ALLEGED USE-OF-FORCE INCIDENT

Story and photos by Kendra Sitton

May 30, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Around 100 protesters silently walked through an El Cajon neighborhood where organizers said La Mesa Police Officer Matt Dages lives. The group conducted a “Power Walk” this evening to let the officer know he is not invisible, according to organizer Covu.

East County Magazine could not independently verify that Dages lives at the residence.

PROTEST AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE TURNS FIERY IN LA MESA

 

Update:  Union Bank and Chase Bank in downtown La Mesa have burned, along with the Randall Lamb architectural firm. Many stores have been looted elsewhere in La Mesa including Walmart and Target at Grossmont Center and stores in the La Mesa Springs shopping center. A curfew was issued at 1:30 a.m. May 31 by the City Manager.  

Emergency vehicles in flames; protesters tear gassed after armored vehicle hit with rocks and bottles

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Briana Gomez, Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson also contributed to this story

Photo, left by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson: Vehicle burning in La Mesa

Photo, right by Brianna Gomez:  Protestor outside La Mesa Police station

May 30, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Multiple vehicles at La Mesa's Civic Center are in flames tonight, with looting of businesses across the downtown area.The chaos comes after several thousand  mostly peaceful demonstrators converged outside the La Mesa Police Department headquarters this afternoon to protest the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The protesters also demonstrated over an incident earlier this week in La Mesa when a man was detained near the Grossmont Transit Center.

In that incident, suspect Amaurie Johnson was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. Video on social media shows the Amaurie and the officer arguing when the officer pushes Johnson into a seated position. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The city has also announced plans for an independent investigation. 

The protest  later resulted in confrontations that resulted in tear-gassing of some protesters and declaration of an unlawful assembly. 

VACANT STRUCTURE BURNS IN RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 30, 2020 (Ramona) – Investigators from the Sheriff’s department are working to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a vacant structure today in Ramona.
 
Deputies from the Ramona substation responded to the fire at 1028 A Street at 4:29 p.m. this afternoon. When deputies and fire department personnel arrived, the structure was fully engulfed, also affecting power lines nearby.
 
Fire department personnel were able to extinguish the fire and contain it to the single structure, which was vacant. 

PREDATOR POULSOM TO BE RELEASED JUNE 5 IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service
 
May 30, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Members of the Sheriff’s SAFE Task Force went door to door on Wednesday in Jacumba Hot Springs and Boulevard to inform the community that Michael Poulsom is slated to be released June 5 and move to 45612 Old Highway 80 in Jacumba Hot Springs. Poulsom is registered as a sexually violent predator after felony convictions for lews and lascivious acts against girls under age 14.
 
He served time in prison from 1985 to 1995 and was later sent to Coalinga State Hospital, which approved him for release over the objections of Supervisor Dianne Jacob and community members.

REV. SHANE HARRIS BRINGS SUPPORT TO FAMILY OF GEORGE FLOYD IN MINNEAPOLIS AND FIGHTS FOR REFORMS TO HALT POLICE KILLINGS

“The arrest of George Floyd should not have been a death sentence. What you saw when you looked at the video of the killing was a policeman who was the judge, the jury, and the executioner.” – Rev. Shane Harris, People’s Alliance for Justice, in an exclusive interview with ECM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Rev. Shane Harris, shown on Hennepin Bridge in Minneapolis

May 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- The brutal killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis has sparked protests and civil unrest nationwide. The Washington Post has compiled video from multiple sources, documenting that after a store clerk alleged Floyd used counterfeit payment at a store, Officer Derek Chauvin handcuffed Floyd and later knelt on his neck for over eight minutes, ignoring gasps of “I can’t breathe!” Three other officers failed to intervene.

Four nights of protests  in Minnesota ensued, including rioting and burning a police station.  Minnesota’s Governor has called in the National Guard, declaring that most protesters are outside agitators. Officer Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter; all four officers were fired. But many believe more must be done for justice to be served.

Reverend Shane Harris, a national civil rights leader and founder of the People’s Alliance for Justice (PAJ) based in San Diego, flew to Minneapolis on Friday and provided an exclusive phone interview to ECM on Friday night.

AMBULANCE SERVICES SET TO IMPROVE IN PAUMA VALLEY

Source:  Cal Fire

May 29, 2020 (El Cajon) - CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority and Mercy Medical Transportation are excited to announce a new agreement which calls for an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance to be placed at Fire Station 70 in Pauma Valley. Beginning Friday, May 22, 2020, the new ambulance will be available to respond to emergencies from Palomar Mountain and the La Jolla Reservation to the Rincon Reservation and Pauma Valley along the Hwy 76 corridor in northern San Diego County. In addition to providing paramedic service in its primary response area, the medic ambulance will be available to assist surrounding communities such as Valley Center and Pala Reservation should their primary ambulances be out of their protection areas or in the event an emergency incident requires additional resources. 

REGIONAL COLLABORATION ON WATER PURIFICATION PROJECT EXPANDS LOCAL, DROUGHT-PROOF SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER

Source: Helix Water District

May 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s Board of Directors authorized its General Manager to sign water purchase agreements for the East County Advanced Water Purification (ECAWP) project at a special meeting on May 27.

The project is a collaborative, regional effort that will diversify the district’s water portfolio, provide a drought-proof supply and further enhance reliability by purifying treated wastewater using the district’s Lake Jennings and other facilities.

The $681 million project, led by the ECAWP Joint Powers Authority, will recycle daily wastewater flows from Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Winter Gardens and Alpine. Treated water will undergo membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to produce water that is near-distilled in quality.

SANTEE EXTENDS PANDEMIC RENT RELIEF TO JUNE, REVIEWS PLANS FOR COUNCIL CHAMBER RENOVATION

By Mike Allen

May 29, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council voted unanimously May 27 to extend a moratorium on evictions of both residential and commercial tenants impacted by the coronavirus to the end of June.

The Council enacted an urgency ordinance installing a moratorium on evictions April 8 that was set to expire May 31. The city took the action despite the fact that the state of California already has executive orders in place barring evictions of tenants who can show they have been negatively impacted by the lockdown of all non-essential businesses starting March 19.

Councilwoman Laura Koval said given the fact that so many residents are unemployed, and have yet to receive their first check from the state, it’s necessary that the city provide them with some safety net.

WHERE TO FIND COVID-19 TESTS: NEW RURAL SITES ANNOUNCED FOR JUNE 1-6

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Drive-up testing, courtesy of San Diego County News Service

May 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – COVID-19 tests are now widely available to everyone. There are several options for testing across our region.  

People who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider and arrange for testing, or call 2-1-1 if you don’t have a doctor. 

For those without symptoms, call 2-1-1 for a referral to one of the many testing sites countywide, including drive-up test sites. All require an appointment through 2-1-1.  

Or you can get a free test by signing up on the state website (in East County, free state testing is available at Grossmont College).

PLASMA FROM RECOVERED COVID-19 PATIENTS NEEDED TO TREAT OTHERS LOCALLY

Source: By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by NA - SC

May 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Blood Bank is partnering with the County to encourage San Diegans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, the liquid part of blood which contains antibodies. This plasma could help treat people who are hospitalized or seriously ill from the novel coronavirus.

While currently there is no vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19, “convalescent plasma may help patients fighting the virus because the plasma has antibodies against it,” the County’s top health official announced yesterday.

“This partnership helps us to achieve one of the indicators at the federal level for treatment of COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We’re very excited about this partnership.”

BACK TO THE BEACH: COUNTY EASES RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2020 (San Diego) –  Just in time for summertime weather, beach towels and chairs can be brought to local beaches for lounging on the sand starting Tuesday, June 2nd. But some restrictions remain under the new rules announced yesterday by the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Sitting or sunbathing together is only allowed with people in your own household. You must maintain six feet of social distancing from others, and wear a mask if you come within six feet of anyone such as when passing someone while walking or jogging.  Parking lots and piers are still closed, so plan on walking to reach those sandy shores. Group activities such as volleyball or football remain prohibited.

All beach communities have agreed to these eased restrictions, however cities have the power to determine how to enforce the guidelines and whether to reimpose limits if people don’t follow the rules.

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