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

La Mesa police open fire at 'aggressive dog' after responding to domestic dispute
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 13:51:50-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) — La Mesa city officials have launched an investigation after video surfaced of an incident at a local trolley station on Wednesday.

The incident occurred at the Grossmont Trolley Station on Fletcher Parkway, according to the city and the video online.

The video appears to "indicate that a LMPD officer detained an African American male, and in the process, the LMPD officer administered physical contact," the city wrote in a press release.

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 city says it has started a special investigation into the incident and that the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

"The Special Investigator has already been selected, and his appointment is pending the execution of a special services agreement which will be released for public review when available," the city says.

A statement from La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis added, "The City takes these matters very seriously, and consequently, in conjunction with the City Manager’s and City Attorney’s offices, has already begun the appropriate steps forward to investigate this matter thoroughly and take all necessary actions."

LMPD issued a statement, saying they are "aware of a video circulating on social media depicting an interaction between a police officer and a citizen at the Grossmont Trolley Station yesterday. We immediately began a review of the incident to find out what happened. The La Mesa Police Department takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously and asks that any member of the public with information or video regarding this incident contact us at (619) 667-1400."

Outrage over the video comes as the protests are being held across the nation against police brutality, after a 10-minute video of the altercation between George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, and Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. In the video, Chauvin is pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck while the man gasps for breath with his face against the pavement. Floyd later died.

STATEMENT FROM CITY OF LA MESA
The City Manager’s office is aware of an incident occurring on May 27, 2020, involving a La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) contact with a citizen at the Grossmont Trolley Station located on Fletcher Parkway, and the circulation of a video (from an unidentified source) of that contact on social media. The video appears to indicate that a LMPD officer detained an African American male, and in the process, the LMPD officer administered physical contact.

In response, the City has caused a special investigation of the incident and the LMPD has placed the officer on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The Special Investigator has already been selected, and his appointment is pending the execution of a special services agreement which will be released for public review when available. The Special Investigator will be assisted by the law firm of Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore, which has acted as Special Counsel to the City on several police-related matters in the past.

Also, in response, Mayor Mark Arapostathis stated, “The City takes these matters very seriously, and consequently, in conjunction with the City Manager’s and City Attorney’s offices, has already begun the appropriate steps forward to investigate this matter thoroughly and take all necessary actions.”