San Diego

Officer Gets Concussion After Being Struck During Racial Justice Protest, SDPD Says

SDPD said several other officers were also punched during a scuffle at the downtown protest, which otherwise remained peaceful as it stretched into the night

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San Diego police said one of their officers suffered a concussion after being struck in the head by an object swung by a protester during a rally on Monday in response to the shooting of an unarmed Black man by police in Wisconsin.

The officer, who has not been named, began to show symptoms of a concussion following the incident and was taken to a hospital for evaluation, SDPD Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said. There, hospital staff diagnosed him with a concussion.

The officer has since been released from the hospital and is on temporary medical leave until he recovers, Takeuchi added.

Joseph Austin Gaskins, 19, was identified Tuesday as the protester who allegedly swung what was described by police as a cane at the officer was identified as 19-year-old Joseph Austin Gaskins. He was taken into custody on charges of assault, resisting an officer and possession of a dirk or dagger.

SDPD said several other officers were also punched during a scuffle at the downtown protest, which otherwise remained peaceful as dozens gathered for hours outside SDPD Headquarters to bring attention to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Blake was shot in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer as he leaned into his SUV over the weekend. The caught-on-video shooting reignited the call for racial justice and demonstrations spawned across the country. The lawyer for Blake's family said he would likely never walk again.

NBC 7's Omari Fleming reports from the streets surrounding SDPD headquarters downtown/.

The police department involved has said little in regards to the incident other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.

Social media posts spreading the word about Monday's San Diego protest called for demonstrators to "Show your solidarity with Kenosha," at the department's building on Broadway.

SDPD said the group, estimated to be around 50 people, at one point blocked the entrance and exit of their parking lot and ignored orders to clear out. Their officer was allegedly struck in the head when officers began clearing the driveway, SDPD said.

Two others were also arrested for resisting or obstructing officers. SDPD has not identified the individuals.

Kenosha, Wisconsin, was under an 8 p.m. curfew Monday as protesters took to the streets following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The protest continued into the night, growing to around 100 people, at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street. Signs included the phrases "Black Lives Matter," and "Melanin is not a weapon."

Some demonstrators echoed nationwide calls to "defund the police," or cut police department budgets and reallocate funds toward community services.

By 11 p.m., the crowd has dispersed without other incidents.

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