La Mesa Police Department

Trial to Begin for Ex-La Mesa Cop Accused of Falsifying Police Report in Controversial Arrest

The May 27, 2020 arrest fueled protests that same weekend that ended in a riot as looters took advantage of the tension

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A trial is set to begin Monday morning for the La Mesa police officer who faces a charge of falsifying a police report following the detainment of an unarmed Black man at a trolley stop.

Former La Mesa Police Department Officer Matt Dages will return to court on Monday for the accusation. Prosecutors said the ex-cop lied about the controversial arrest of Amaurie Johnson, who was near the Grossmont Trolley Station waiting for his friends to pick him up.

The May 27, 2020 arrest was captured on video and showed Dages approaching Johnson. During a preliminary hearing in August, Johnson testified that Dages asked why he was there then later accused him of smoking on the trolley platform.

In bystander video and body-worn camera footage, the former officer could be seen pushing Johnson down before arresting him for “resisting and assaulting an officer.” That video was widely circulated online and fueled protests in La Mesa that same weekend.

Charges for Johnson were eventually dropped and Dages was charged for lying on a police report. He pleaded not guilty in March.

Former La Mesa Police Department Officer Matt Dages faces a charge of falsifying a police report in the arrest of Amaurie Johnson, reports NBC 7's Rory Devine.

The ex-police officer was fired from the department following the allegations, to which Dages responded by filing an appeal request to get his job back. Johnson filed a federal lawsuit against the city of La Mesa and Dages, alleging negligence, excessive force and violence due to his race.

Dages’ trial is scheduled to begin Monday morning in El Cajon.

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