An external investigation into a controversial arrest of a black man near a Grossmont Trolley stop in La Mesa has been completed and will next be reviewed by Chief Walt Vasquez, the La Mesa Police Department said Thursday.
The results of the independent investigation into the arrest of Amaurie Johnson, 23, were not yet released to the public and it was unclear what would come from the results of the investigation. Activists demanded the arresting officer be charged.
LMPD Officer Matt Dages, the three-year veteran of the force who stopped Johnson in late May, was placed on leave while the independent review was being conducted.
LMPD said Dages suspected Johnson of smoking in an area where it was not allowed. But Johnson was not booked on charges of smoking in public. Instead, he was charged with assault on an officer and resisting arrest, charges which were dropped weeks later and after community outrage that led to protests in the city.
Johnson said officers found no evidence of drug paraphernalia when they searched him, yet he was still taken into custody and charged.
Video of Johnson's arrest was posted to Instagram 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 to demand action against the police officer in the video.
About a week later, 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.