Matt Dages

JUDGE FINDS LA MESA WAS JUSTIFIED IN FIRING OFFICER MATT DAGES

By Miriam Raftery

April 13, 2022 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa’s decision to fire La Mesa Police Officer Matt Dages in 2020 was “supported by the weight of the evidence”, according to a tentative ruling issued by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal.  According to the Judge, the evidence showed that Dages provided “false and misleading” information in his report on his arrest of Amaurie Johnson.


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ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS RAISED IN LA MESA AFTER JURY FINDS POLICE OFFICER NOT GUILTY, BANK ARSONIST SENTENCED TO PROBATION

Updated to include comments from Councilmember Laura Lothian.

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2021 (La Mesa) – On May 30th last year, racial justice protests in La Mesa were fueled in part by a viral video of a white police officer’s treatment of a young black man at a trolley stop. Protests turned violent after dark, including the burning down of two banks and a historic building, actions that terrorized many La Mesa residents.

But now a jury has found Officer Matt Dages not guilty of falsifying a police report accusing Amaurie Johnson of assault. In addition, Ricky Bernard Cooper, who pleaded guilty to lighting papers on fire inside Chase Bank which burned to the ground, as well as looting businesses, was sentenced to probation after serving just 100 days in jail.


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STATE SENATE PASSES BILL TO REVOKE LICENSING FROM POLICE OFFICERS CONVICTED OF SERIOUS CRIMES OR FIRED FOR MISCONDUCT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Bill could revoke licenses from officers such as fired LMPD officer Matt Dages, who is charged with falsifying a police report after a stop involving Amaurie Johnson.

May 28, 2021 (Sacramento)  -- California may soon become the 47th state to require decertification of police officers who conduct serious offenses, an action aimed at ending the option for “bad apple” officers to move to another law enforcement department and potentially reoffend.

The bill would create a new state license for police officers which could be revoked if an officer is convicted of a serious crime or is fired due to misconduct, including violating a person’s civil rights.


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CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST EX-LA MESA POLICE OFFICER MATT DAGES FOR FILING FALSE REPORT IN AMAURIE JOHNSON CASE

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2021 (La Mesa) -- San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a criminal charge has been filed against a former La Mesa Police Officer in connection with an arrest of Amaurie Johnson, 23, near the Grossmont trolley station in La Mesa. The criminal complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, Officer Matthew Dages, 30, filed a police report that contained false information.

The incident was shown in a video that went viral on social media, sparking racial justice protests. The Dages incident occurred three days after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests and two days before a riot resulted in looting, vandalism and the burning down of three buildings in La Mesa.  The Johnson arrest has been likened to the fuse that ignited a powder keg of explosive rage over mistreatment of black suspects by white police officers.


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LMPD FIRED MATT DAGES, OFFICER IN AMAURIE JOHNSON INCIDENT, ON AUG. 7, CITY REVEALS AFTER APPEALS BOARD UPHOLDS ACTION

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa today revealed that before retiring, Police Chief Walt Vasquez terminated the employment of Officer Matt Dages. Dages was fired due to his actions during the controversial stop of Amaurie Johnson at a trolley station on May 27. Three days later, on May 30, a protest against La Mesa Police erupted into a night of looting, rioting and the burning down of three buildings.

Dages had accused Johnson, 23, of assault but the charge was dropped after body camera footage failed to substantiate Officer  Dages' version of the incident.  A video that went viral on social media prompted accusations of racial profiling by Dages.


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LMPD OFFICER IN TROLLEY STOP INCIDENT LEAVES FORCE: QUESTONS OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY REMAIN

By Miriam Raftery

Screenshot from video via Instagram: Officer Matt Dages and Amaurie Johnson in controversial stop

August 8, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Police officer involved in the controversial stop of a  young Black man near the Grossmont trolley stop on May 28 is “not employed by the City of La Mesa in any capacity,” the city announced yesterday. The incident, widely viewed as racial profiling, ignited rage that exploded in a devastating riot two nights later.

The city's terse statement provided no details on whether Officer Matt Dages resigned or was terminated, nor whether any wrongdoing was found in an investigation. He was placed on administrative leave pending an external investigation, the results of which have not been made public.

An assault charge against Amaurie Johnson, 23, was dropped after body camera footage failed to substantiate Officer  Dages' version of the incident.

The announcement of Dages' departure has drawn reactions ranging from relief to calls for greater accountability and transparency.


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Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.