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La Mesa protest turns violent with fires, looting

Posted at 4:48 PM, May 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 12:31:51-04

UPDATE - 12:04 a.m. Sunday

The Chase Bank on Spring St. has now reportedly collapsed. A San Diego Sheriff's deputy has also been hit by a brick and is receiving medical treatment, scanner traffic adds.


UPDATE - 11:18 P.M.

A fire has reportedly engulfed the Chase Bank on Spring Street, according to police scanner traffic.


UPDATE - 11:13 P.M.

Looters now jumping through the broken window of a nearby Target on Grossmont Center Dr. after law enforcement arrive at shopping center's Walmart.


UPDATE - 11:03 P.M.

A vehicle is engulfed in flames near La Mesa Blvd. and University Ave. as unrest continues in La Mesa.


UPDATE - 10:48 P.M.

Several people looting a Wal-Mart on Grossmont Center Dr. were seen from Sky10.


UPDATE - 9:56 P.M.

Police are fielding several burglary alarms from local businesses over looting in the La Mesa Springs Shopping Center, as unrest continues after a full day of protesting, according to scanner traffic.


UPDATE - 9:17 P.M.

Police scanner traffic reports that about 100 people are looting the Vons grocery store at University and Allison in La Mesa.


UPDATE - 9:12 P.M.

Police are reportedly forming a barricade at Fashion Valley Mall to prevent any possible looting of stores, according to scanner traffic, as police in La Mesa continue to respond to several fires and incidents involving protesters.


UPDATE - 9:06 P.M.

A fire has been reported at a school district parking lot near the La Mesa Police Department and some protesters have reportedly started looting surrounding businesses, according to scanner traffic. A fire hose is being requested by police, scanner traffic reported. Several vehicle fires in the area have been reported.


UPDATE - 8:41 P.M.

Spring and University in La Mesa has become the scene of a chaotic standoff between police and protesters, according to scanner traffic. Police are trying to close the area to motorist. Looting and a fire truck on fire have been reported in the area, per scanner traffic.


UPDATE - 8:32 P.M.

Officers continue to hold a line across La Mesa Police Station, using beanbags and pepper balls, according to scanner reports. Police are also reporting on scanners that fires have been reported at City Hall and the police station's sally port. A protester has reportedly been hit by a beanbag and was carried away by other protesters to a vehicle, scanner traffic added.


UPDATE - 6:48 P.M.
Police deployed multiple rounds of tear gas, forcing crowds back for a short period of time, before protesters regrouped outside the police station.


UPDATE - 6:29 P.M.
Citizen reporting to police that a car just ran over pedestrians at Allison and Spring.


UPDATE - 5:42 P.M.
Windows being broken out at La Mesa PD HQ, officers taking rocks and bottles, cops being told to put on masks and preparing to deploy gas.


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Thousands of demonstrators took over La Mesa's streets Saturday to protest against an incident caught on video between an African American man and a white La Mesa Police officer.

The protest started at around 2 p.m. near the La Mesa Police Department headquarters. The group started with a hundred people but quickly swelled to an estimated two thousand.

The rally was peaceful though disruptive to motorists as demonstrators holding signs with the messages "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe" marched through residential streets and making their onto Interstate 8.

VIDEO: Incident between La Mesa officer, man at trolley station surfaces

There was a tense moment during the march when protesters faced off with a CHP skirmish line at the I-8 on-ramp at El Cajon Blvd. About a dozen officers held off the large group for several minutes before several of the protesters broke through enabling nearly all of them to make their way onto the eastbound lanes of I-8.

SWAT officers were called to the scene on I-8 and formed a skirmish line across all lanes near El Cajon Blvd. The march diverted back to the La Mesa Police Department.

A few dozen demonstrators remained on the highway effectively shutting down all lanes.

The calm ended when the large group gathered outside of the La Mesa Police Department and began attacking a bear cat vehicle that was brought in to help disperse the crowd.

Officers used flash bangs and tear gas on the crowd temporarily emptying out the parking lot. Unruly protesters clashed with the police skirmish line outside of the LMPD headquarters slinging objects and breaking out windows on the building.

As night began to set, the scene became chaotic. Vandals set fires to numerous buildings and vehicles including a Chase bank on Spring Street and a fire truck.

At around 8:41 p.m., the intersection at Spring and University became a chaotic standoff between police and protesters. Police shutdown nearby streets to traffic as the crowd began to spread. Vandals set firefighting truck ablaze, just one of numerous vehicles that were set on fire.

Looters struck a Walmart, Target, Vons and several stores in the La Mesa Springs Shopping Center.

It's unknown if anyone has been taken into custody during the La Mesa protest. There have been no reports of injuries at this time.

MORE: La Mesa officer in arrest video placed on leave, pending investigation

Saturday's rally was organized after La Mesa authorities announced they launched an investigation after video surfaced of an incident at a local trolley station on Wednesday.

The video shows an altercation between a man and an officer escalate at the trolley station. Eventually, the man is handcuffed by officers and told he is being charged with assaulting an officer.

The protest in La Mesa follows a week of fiery demonstrations across the country stemming from the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck until he passed out.

Floyd was heard pleading with officers saying, "I can't breathe...please stop."