Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this
By Miriam Raftery
Photo:  Detective Eric Knudson with La Mesa Chamber of Commerce President Mary England during "Salute to Local Heroes" event, where he was honored in 2018
July 23, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police today identified the officer who fired a beanbag that struck protester Leslie Furcron on the forehead during a chaotic protest outside the LMPD station on May 30, 2020, seriously injuring the Lemon Grove grandmother. Police also release two body camera videos of the incident, as well as a critical incident video and additional information.

Detective Eric Knudson, a 12-year veteran of the LMPD, fired the bean-bag round from an elevated patio approximately 96 feet away. Knudson was hailed in 2018 as a “local hero” by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, when Police Chief Walt Vasquez praised him as “the nicest guy.”
Body cam footage makes clear that Furcron had hurled an object, believed to be a can, toward police and an officer’s voice is heard saying “That was the guy who’s throwing things. The guy who is down right now.” 
According to a statement prepared by the department, the incident came after officers were “continuously attacked and struck with large (baseball-to-softball sized) rocks, water bottles (many of which were frozen) and pots and pans” for several hours. 
“The police station was seriously vandalized, to include acts of arson, spray painting and the breaking of windows. … La Mesa City Hall and (its) council chambers sustained extensive fire and looting damage,” the statement reads.
A video released by police on the incident also includes dispatch audio and photos indicated fire ablaze in the police parking lot.  An unlawful assembly had been declared at 5:09 p.m., shortly after an act of arson was committed in the front plaza and protesters began throwing rocks at officers. Multiple orders to disperse were also given. City Hall down the block had also been set ablaze.  
Furcron was standing near a Civic Center sign when she was struck by the bean bag round at 8:16 p.m.. Video shows a barrage of objects, some striking officers, shortly before she was struck and seriously injured by the beanbag, which was embedded between her eyes. Protesters picked up Furcron approximately one minute after she was hit and carried her to a vehicle, which transported her away from the station.

She was hospitalized, placed in an induced coma and underwent surgery. She has lost vision in one eye, according to her attorney, Dante Pride, who has contended that Furcron was targeted for exercising free speech rights, including calling police “murderers” during the protest.

Video live-streamed by Furcron had shown her stating she was entering a “riot” and calling for the police station to be burned down, though it appears the officer who fired the beanbag was unaware of that and mistook Furcron for a man. 

Detective Knudson is on paid administrative leave as an investigation continues. The District Attorney’s office will review the investigation when completed to determine whether the officer should be charged with any crime. LMPD policy requires that beanbags, if used for crowd control, be aimed at the torso. However the substantial distance and fact that Furcron had moved forward as she hurled the can make it unclear whether the officer aimed at her torso or higher.

At a press conference after her release from Sharp Grossmont Hospital,  Furcron stated, “'m a law-abiding citizen. And I never came out here at night for this to be a part of my story."

Chief Vasquez issued a statement which reads in part, “I continue to pray for Ms. Furcron and hope that she continues to heal and makes a full recovery for her family at home. Rest assured that the men and women of the La Mesa Police Department are committed to providing quality and professional police service to our community. It is my hope that we will continue to heal the wounds, nurture an environment of open communications and make La Mesa a safer place to live.”

View critical incident video: 

Video body camera footage from Detective Knudson (partially obscured by patio wall): 

Video body camera footage from a second officer next to Knudson: 

View timeline of events during protest and subsequent riot, in which several buildings were burned dow, released by the City of La Mesa:

View statement by LMPD Walt Vasquez:


Error message

Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at


She was no nice grandma

The news media portrayal of this woman is full of SH*T. She was no grandma. She drove to the riots, possibly drinking booze as your took video, with the most foul mouth you can imagine, wanting to confront the police. She threw something at the police line trying to protect the La Mesa HQ from being burned up by the anarchists, arsonists, looters, thieves and more. She does not care about George Floyd or the front word "racial justice."

While some media did have a one-sided portrayal,

We have reported multiple times that this woman livestreamed footage stating she was entering a riot and calling for the police station to be burned down. After videos surfaced showing that she threw an object, probably the can she'd been drinking from, we reported that, too, as well as her calling police "murderers."

I cannot speak to what she believes about George Floyd or racial justice. Though she was foul-mouth and advocating violence, she may still care about those issues. Other media has reported that she lost a son to some sort of police-related action, so this may be personal to her.  She is a grandmother, though her conduct is not how my grandmother would have behaved.


I don't remember my

I don't remember my Grandmother participating in too many riots. 


Has this woman faced assault and other charges for her actions against the Police?.