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Closing arguments end in trial of former La Mesa police officer accused of falsifying report

Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 21:48:21-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The prosecution and defense delivered closing arguments in the trial of former La Mesa police officer Matthew Dages on Wednesday.

Dages is charged with falsifying a police report related to the controversial arrest of Amaurie Johnson last year, who was waiting for her friends outside of an apartment complex near the Grossman Transit Center.

While the prosecution said he lied on that report about the basis of the arrest, the defense said what Dages submitted was accurate and truthful. That his report was heavily scrutinized by La Mesa Police Department management before it was approved and that there was only a problem with the report after the outrage in La Mesa.

Before each side wrapped up their case, Dages was cross-examined by the prosecution.

Dages said he initially contacted Johnson for smoking in a banned area and standing in a trolley "fare paid zone." He was arrested for allegedly assaulting Dages, which were later dropped. No smoking material, including vaping devices, were ever found on Johnson.

But that was left out of Dages' report — one of the main reasons for this trial.

Something the prosecution pressed him on Wednesday.

"My question is 'did you write in your report that you did not find one item associated with smoking on Mr. Johnson when you searched him? Did you put that in your report?'," asked the prosecutor. "No ma'am, I did not, I did not think it was relevant," replied Dages. "Not important to you?" the prosecutor asked. "No, I was more concerned about Mr. Johnson putting his hands on me," said Dages.

The prosecution and defense concluded their arguments, the jury will now begin deliberating. If Dages is convicted, he will face up to three years in prison for the felony charge.