By Miriam Raftery
Photo: screenshot from viral video showing Dages grabbing Johnson’s shirt
March 7, 2021 (La Mesa) – Former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages has filed a lawsuit against the city seeking his old job back, Times of San Diego reports. Dages was fired and criminally charged by the District Attorney with filing a false report against Amaurie Johnson, 23.
Dages stop of Johnson near a trolley station was caught on video that went viral. The bystander’s cell phone video, along with body cam footage from multiple officers, disputed Dages’ account of what occurred.
The stop was widely criticized as racial profiling, fueling anger against the LMPD just days before a protest outside the LMPD station erupted into violence on May 30, 2020, a night that ended in a destructive riot.
Dages was fired, an action upheld by La Mesa’s personnel appeals board, for allegedly violating police rules and regulations, including falsifying records, according to a termination letter signed by Police Chief Walt Vasquez, who retired soon after.
According to Vasquez, Dages made false or misleading statements accusing Johnson of evading trolley fares and smoking. Dages also reportedly failed to activate his body camera and use profane and insolent language during the incident.