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Local protester seen being taken away by San Diego Police speaks out

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 21:55:39-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The local protester who appeared in a controversial video getting taken away in an unmarked San Diego Police van is now speaking out, as police conduct an internal investigation.

“No one should feel fear from the people that are supposed to serve and protect us,” Shayla Piccini told 10News on Monday as she shared the story of her arrest from last Thursday on Park Boulevard.

The video shows a protester being taken away in an unmarked van as one officer warns her family around her not to follow them or he will shoot.

“You see both of her legs kind of go up in the air because she's going [into the van] head first. That’s way too much force needed for this 20-year-old lady here,” said attorney Dante Pride.

“That whole ride, I was asking several questions like, ‘Who are you? Where are you taking me?’ I was getting stares and no answers,” said Piccini.

Piccini said she spent the day at a protest in Downtown San Diego. After several hours, the group was walking back to their car when she saw several police motorcycles driving past them. At that moment, she held up her cardboard sign.

San Diego police say detectives witnessed her step off the sidewalk and swing the sign at a passing motorcycle officer, which she denied.

In the foreground of the video, you can see men in what look to be marked police vests. But the people who handcuffed and detained Piccini in an unmarked van, are in plain clothes.

One man wearing military-style tactical gear can be heard in the video saying, "You follow us, you will get shot. You understand me?"

Piccini's cousin Brandi Matthews said she thought he was talking to her. “When he said the words, ‘I'll shoot you,’ I automatically just dropped to my knees to demonstrate that I'm not trying to hurt anybody...I just want to know where they're taking my cousin,” she added.

According to San Diego Police, the statement about shooting those attempting to follow was made by a SWAT officer who had a pepper ball device. SDPD also told 10News that his comment was a valid announcement of use of force.

Police said due to the large crowd still in the area, and the detectives felt the need to leave immediately.

Piccini spent the night in jail on suspicion of assault on an officer. She has not been charged. SDPD’s internal investigation continues.