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Charges Dropped Against Man in Viral Video of La Mesa Arrest

Johnson said officers found no evidence of drug paraphernalia when they searched him, yet he was still taken into custody and charged

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Charges have been dropped against Amaurie Johnson, a black man whose arrest by a La Mesa Police Department officer last week -- in the midst of a movement calling for police accountability -- led to protests in the city.

"After a full review of all of the evidence in the criminal investigation against Amaurie Johnson, 23, the La Mesa Police Department has decided it will not be seeking prosecution of Mr. Johnson on any of the alleged misdemeanor charges," LMPD said in a statement Friday.

Johnson faced charges of assault on an officer and resisting arrest but was not charged with smoking in an area where it was not allowed, which was what LMPD Officer Matt Dages, a three-year veteran of the force, reportedly stopped Johnson for.

The man at the center of an arrest that went viral, prompting protests in La Mesa, took the podium following a City of La Mesa press conference. Bridget Naso and Melissa Adan break down what happened.

Johnson said officers found no evidence of drug paraphernalia when they searched him, yet he was still taken into custody and charged.

Video of Amaurie Johnson's arrest was posted to Instagram last week and quickly went viral as the country reeled from the killing of George Floyd, whose death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer called into question the respect law enforcement give to the lives of black men in America.

Both incidents prompted protesters to gather outside the La Mesa Police Department headquarters on Saturday to demand action against the police officer in the video.

Dages was placed on administrative leave while an independent review of the incident was being conducted. LMPD did not mention on Friday if the officer's status had changed but did say the third-party investigation into the incident is ongoing.

On Wednesday, the La Mesa Police Department held its first press conference to address the incident and released eight clips of body-worn camera footage. The video did not shed any more light on the incident than did the Instagram video.

Johnson took the podium following the city's press conference and urged anyone with video from other perspectives to release it.

"Pretty much what you see is what you get from the video that you see online," Johnson said. "I challenge anybody who does have any other video to release it and show anything that states otherwise."

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