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LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) — City officials are investigating an incident caught on video between an African American man and a white La Mesa Police officer that led to the officer being placed on leave.
The video, posted to Facebook this week, shows the incident that occurred at the Grossmont Trolley Station on Fletcher Parkway. The city said the footage appears to "indicate that a LMPD officer detained an African American male, and in the process, the LMPD officer administered physical contact."
The video footage starts after an altercation had already begun between Amaurie Johnson and the police officer. It then shows the escalation and Johnson being placed in handcuffs. Johnson is told that he's being charged with assaulting an officer and led to a police vehicle.
“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 said in an interview with 10News.
He said he was waiting for his friend at the trolley stop, near a building where that friend lives.
Johnson said an officer started questioning him and he gave him the information that he wanted.
The nearly six-minute video shows a heated verbal exchange between Johnson and the officer. It also shows the officer forcefully push Johnson into a sitting position onto a nearby bench.
Johnson told 10News at no point did he 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,” he said.
Johnson said he was cited with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
The La Mesa Police Department did not respond to our request for information about the citations. The department also didn’t respond to our request for the officer’s body camera video or release the name of the officer involved in the incident.
On Thursday, the La Mesa Police Department 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."
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.