Gov. Gavin Newsom said the rights of some Californians are being denied at protests against police brutality and racial injustices, and he specifically mentioned a La Mesa grandmother who was seriously injured after a police officer shot her in the head with a "less lethal" projectile.
“Protesters have the right not to be harassed. Protesters have the right to protest peaceful. Protesters have the right to do so without being arrested, gassed, be shot at by projectiles. That’s a simple-value statement,” Newsom said during a press conference Friday.
The California governor referenced graphic images of Leslie Furcron, a San Diego grandmother, who was spotted lying unconscious on the ground and bleeding after being shot in the head with a bean bag round at a protest.
“It’s clear by the images that we see on TV, the reality of a grandmother from La Mesa, California, that’s in the hospital, that some people are denied that fundamental right. And that we’re not seeing people treated equally all across the state of California,” Newsom said.
Furcron was recording the protest with her cellphone near the La Mesa Police Department headquarters on May 30, according to Dante Pride with The Pride Law Firm said.
At around 7:30 p.m., police began using tactics to disperse the crowd, and the 59-year-old was shot with a bean bag round between her eyes.
“They have the right not be harassed, not to be denied, not to be arrested for peaceful protesting. Full stop. Period," said Newsom.
Pride said the protesters received no warning from law enforcement before "the tear gas came and the bullets rained down,'' he said.
According to LMPD, some people in the crowd began throwing water bottles and other objects at officers, prompting them to respond with tear gas and "less lethal" projectiles.
"No property damage is worth Leslie being shot in the middle of her eyes," said activist Tasha Williamson.
Furcron’s injuries resulted in her being put in a medically-induced coma. Four days after she was shot, the family’s attorney confirmed she had been taken out of the medically-induced coma.
On June 3, family members demanded answers from the La Mesa Police Department during a press conference.
"My mom is 59 years old. She didn’t break no laws. She wasn't being violent or nothing," Ahmad Furcron said. "We want answers she was shot between the eyes."
It was not clear if LMPD knew the name of the officer involved or if the officer had been placed on administrative leave. The LMPD has not responded to questions on the matter from NBC 7.
“Now, we have rules and regulations, the California Highway Patrol, as it relates to how we use projectiles and how we use tear gas and how we use force to protect the peace – not deadly force in this gas – but broadly. National Guard has a frame. But municipalities have different approaches, and it’s clear to me that we need to standardize those approaches,” Newsom said.
Newsom called for the development of statewide protocols for the use of tear gas and rubber projectiles.
He also ordered that law enforcement officers in the state no longer be trained in the use of carotid restraint holds that are employed to render suspects unconscious, but can be potentially deadly.
"We cannot see the kinds of techniques that tragically and ironically we train,'' Newsom said. "I own this. We own this. Across this country, we train techniques on strangleholds that put people's lives at risk. Now, we can argue that these are used as exceptions, but at the end of the day, a carotid hold that literally is designed to stop people's blood from flowing into their brain? That has no place any longer in 21st Century practices and policing.''
Newsom said he was directing California's Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, to immediately halt training on such holds.