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VIDEO: La Mesa Police release body cam video of viral arrest

Incident between La Mesa officer, man at trolley station surfaces
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 13:36:53-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) — La Mesa Police Department released body camera footage on Wednesday showing the events that led up to an arrest video that surfaced last week.

About 30 seconds of the video provide by police starts without any sound. LMPD Chief Walt Vasquez said the beginning of the video is muted because of the way the body camera is activated. (See the video above and below.)

Raw footage of bodycam footage would be released for four officers involved in the arrest of Amaurie Johnson on May 27, according to La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis.

Last week, video surfaced showing an argument between Johnson and an officer escalate at the Grossmont Trolley Station. The officer is seen pushing Johnson into a sitting position onto a bench during the video. Eventually, Johnson is handcuffed and told he is being charged with assaulting an officer.

Vasquez added that the officer involved in the video has been an officer for about three years. He added that while Johnson was initially stopped for smoking in a trolley area, he wasn't charged with that when he was arrested.

Johnson also denied in a separate press conference after city officials spoke that he was smoking. (Press conference below.)

“For that situation to escalate the way it did, and for the cop, you know, to stand firm in his beliefs that I should be detained or taken in with no prior evidence or reasoning, I think that should be seen by the people,” Johnson told Team 10 investigator Adam Racusin.

He said he was waiting for his friend at the trolley stop, near a building where that friend lives. He added that the officer started questioning him and that he gave the officer the information that he wanted.

Johnson adds that he didn't resist or assault anyone.

"I feel as though people that look like me, um, feel the same way I do and we're tired of it. We're tired of having to deal with stuff like that,” Johnson said.

The video prompted the city to begin a special investigation into the incident and LMPD to place the officer involved on administrative leave pending the investigation.