By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Kendra Sitton
July 31, 2020 (La Mesa) – Amaurie Johnson, 23, whose controversial arrest near the Grossmont Trolley station sparked protests and accusations of racial profiling, has filed a law suit against the city of La Mesa and arresting officer Matt Dages.
On May 27, La Mesa Police have stated that Johnson, who is Black, was stopped for smoking in public and later arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. After a May 30-31 protest and civil unrest, police later released footage from multiple body cameras which largely failed to back up the officer’s claims, showing Johnson touch Officer Dages, who is White, for a fleeting moment after Dages had grabbed Johnson by the shirt and Johnson vociferously objected.
LMPD announced that it would not pursue prosecution of Johnson and dropped the charges.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court, the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest. (A search of Dages failed to find any smoking materials or illegal substances). The suit also contends that Johnson was the target of police violence due to his race.