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Decades after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the fight for equality continues

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Posted at 11:07 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 13:02:14-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Decades after Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, his fight for equality is far from over.

His words echoed through the National Mall in 1963, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident."

"It's amazing over all this time we're still fighting the same fight," Yusef Miller, Co-Founder of the North County Equity and Justice Coalition said.

He was at the peaceful protest in La Mesa before people in the crowd became violent. Since May he said San Diegans have made progress.

"We've been fighting that fight since 2017 and realized the end of the chokehold in 2020 after George Floyd." He said, "the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego has launched their prosecute or resign campaign which will launch tomorrow."

The campaign demands the District Attorney prosecute officers and deputies who shot people in the line of duty or used excessive force.

Miller said they're also working on creating community chaired police review boards, the goal of Measure B which passed last November.

"What I'm looking for is for the new administration to have open ears and invite community grassroots organizations to the table," Miller said.

He hopes President-elect Joe Biden works across the aisle to make tangible changes for all minorities.

"We are far from a post-civil rights era," Miller said there's lots of work to be done.

Less than two weeks ago, the San Diego District Attorney's Office filed felony charges against a former La Mesa Police officer.

The charges stem from a controversial video showing Officer Matthew Dages, shoving a man and handcuffing him. The man was told he was being arrested for assaulting an officer.

The officer was fired for filing a false report and from actions in the video. He faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Miller said the reason the movement grew during the pandemic is that there weren't any distractions and people were forced to face the injustice in America.

The San Diego District Attorney's Office issued a statement, saying:

"Officer-involved shooting reviews conducted by the District Attorney's Office are independent, objective and thorough. When the evidence and facts support criminal charges in a use-of-force incident, we file them, as we did last summer against a former Sheriff's deputy charged with murder. The DA's office has also charged police officers in cases of excessive force and police misconduct, as we did earlier this month against a La Mesa police officer."