La Mesa

Anti-Police-Violence Protest Held at La Mesa Police Headquarters

The protest ended at around 4:30 p.m. and police said the event was peaceful and safe

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At least 200 people protested outside the La Mesa Police Headquarters Sunday against police use of excessive force against people of color.

The planned downtown demonstration intended to be a non-violent call for change in law enforcement and official accountability for several widely condemned police encounters that played out recently in the eastern San Diego County city.

"We are Peaceful!," activist Tasha Williamson posted on Twitter. "We are Unified! We Want JUSTICE!"

A motorcycle unity ride started in Oak Park at 12 p.m., marking the start of the protest. By 1 p.m. the motorcycles reached the La Mesa Police headquarters.

A motorcycle unity ride took place from Oak Park to La Mesa as protests against racial injustice continue around San Diego County

Among the demands voiced by participants during the rally at La Mesa police headquarters, was the firing of two LMPD officers -- one involved in the allegedly abusive May 27 arrest of a young man near Grossmont Transit Center, the other in the serious injury by a police projectile of a 59-year-old woman taking part in a protest three days later.

That demonstration, where hundreds took to the streets of La Mesa demanding justice after a viral video depicted a man’s arrest by the city’s police department, began in an orderly fashion but devolved into burglary, looting, and arson fires that destroyed several commercial buildings, including two banks.

"People from all walks of life are coming together peacefully to let La Mesa PD, the sheriffs, and any other department know that we are not afraid of them. We have the right to be treated as human beings, like everyone else and until they do that we will continue to protest," Williamson said.

La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez met with protesters outside the headquarters and said the department supports the gathering and wants to work with everyone.

"Everyone knows that we need to listen to each other, we need to start healing then changes can occur, especially from the police department," Vasquez said. "We all need to get better.”

La Mesa Vice-Mayor Bill Baber said, "The Mayor, Councilmember Weber, and I attended today’s protest to listen to the community’s concerns. Today was a day to open our hearts and zip our lips. We thank everyone involved for keeping things peaceful."

The protest ended at around 4:30 p.m. and police said the event was peaceful and safe.

A crowd gathered outside the La Mesa Police headquarters on June 14, 2020.

In this week's episode of INSIGHT, NBC 7's Tom Jones and Dorian Hargrove speak with Amaurie Johnson and hear his thoughts of what occurred the day he got arrested, and the realities for Black people when dealing with law enforcement. 

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